NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Monday witnessed a fierce debate on lynching, with opposition Congress MPs accusing the Centre of “indirectly encouraging” cow vigilantism and BJP MPs countering that the opposition was “unconcerned” about the lynching of a Srinagar police official.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge led the opposition charge saying that incidents of cow-related lynching are rising rather than coming down.
“Don’t make Lynchistan out of Hindustan,” Kharge said.
He accused the Centre of being complicit in lynching and violence against people suspected of carrying beef or eating beef or owning cattle.
“The government is indirectly encouraging groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and gau bhakts (cow vigilantes),” Kharge said.
“Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh have become mob lynching centres,” he further alleged, adding that minorities, dalits and women were being targeted across India under the Modi government.
Kharge said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come to the House and clear his government’s stand on the issue of mob lynching.
“We have taken the law in our hand in the name of the cow. What is the Prime Minister doing to stop this? You have not taken any action against the cow-vigilantes,” Kharge argued.
The BJP MPs’ counter-attack was led by Nishikant Dubey, Union minister Ananth Kumar and Hukumdev Narayan Yadav. They not only contended that the States where violence and lynching incidents have occurred are taking appropriate action, they also said the Congress was “wrongly” linking all such incidents with religion.
To make their case, they cited the lynching of Srinagar deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Ayub Pandith on June 23 and the killing of 16-year-old Junaid on a train in Haryana, also in June.
“Is the mob lynching of DSP Ayub Pandith in Jammu and Kashmir not an incident worth mentioning?” asked BJP MP Yadav.
Pandith was stripped and stoned after he allegedly opened fire at a group of people who caught him taking pictures near a mosque, reportedly of stone-pelters.
Yadav then said Junaid’s lynching wasn’t religious, but “a fight over a train seat”.
“Why are you linking it with religion?” the BJP MP asked.
Junaid was stabbed to death and his brothers were attacked by a mob in a moving train and thrown off it, a day ahead of Eid in Haryana.
Earlier, Congress MP Kharge was interrupted by the BJP’s Dubey and Minister Ananth Kumar, who said that the lynching cases mentioned by him were sub judice and therefore shouldn’t be discussed.
The Congress leader countered by asking the government how many cases were registered against cow vigilantes and how many people had been arrested.