Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the recent lynchings in the name of cow protection, another man was beaten to death by a mob in Ramgarh distrcit of Jharkhand on Thursday on suspicion that he was carrying beef in his vehicle. The incident took place just a couple of days after a mob attacked and injured a man in Giridih district on suspicion that he had slaughtered a cow. A case has been registered on the basis of a video footage of the lynching, police said.
SP Kishore Kaushal told a press conference that around 30 people surrounded the van bearing a West Bengal number plate in the Bazaar Tand area of Ramgarh police station.
They dragged out the driver of the vehicle, Mohd. Allimuddin, a resident of neighbouring Hazaribagh district, and thrashed him, injuring him seriously.
The police on getting information rushed to the spot and took Allimuddin to a hospital where he was declared "brought dead" by doctors, a police officer said.
The mob also set the vehicle on fire, he said.
“It’s premeditated murder,” Additional Director General of Police R.K. Mallik told IANS. “Asgar was chargesheeted for child abduction and murder,” the officer said, adding that some people involved in beef trade hatched a conspiracy to kill him. “The killers have been identified.”
According to Kaushal, the case was registered on the basis of the video footage and asserted the guilty would be arrested soon.
This is second such incident in Jharkhand in the last three days. In Giridih district, a mob thrashed a person and set on fire his house after a cow head was found.
Ramgarh Deputy Commissioner Rajeswari B, who was also present in the press conference, said additional forces have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order.
PM Modi, addressing a a public meeting in Ahmedabad to mark the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati ashram, had yesterday warned that killings in the name of cow protection won't be tolerated.
"Today I want to say a few words and express sadness on some of the things going on. As a society, there is no place for violence. Killing people in the name of 'gau bhakti' is not acceptable. This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve," Modi said while addressing the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Shrimad Rajchandraji, Gandhi's guru, at the Sabarmati Ashram here.
Asserting that India was a land of non-violence, he said: "We are the land of Mahatma Gandhi. Why do we forget that?
"No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands in this country. Violence never has and never will solve any problem," he said.
Modi's remarks assumes significance in the wake of criticism that he and his government have maintained silence about the violence by cow vigiliantes who have been accused of lynching muslim men in Jaipur and Alwar in Rajasthan, Ballabhgarh in Haryana, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand -- in the name of protecting the animal revered by Hindus.
The Opposition, however, said that 'mere lip service' was not enough and actual action on the ground was needed.
"Too little too late. Words mean nothing when actions out do them (sic)," Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad dubbed Modi's comments as "yet another publicity stunt" which allegedly lacked meaning.
Azad observed the prime minister's statement had come after "public pressure" in the wake of yesterday's nationwide protests against incidents of lynching. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury seconded the Congress leaders.
"We are aware of Gandhi's principles...We want to know what the prime minister proposes to do to stop such mobocracy," he said.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi was equally curt and termed Modi's comments as "mere lip service". "Majority of the incidents have taken place in BJP-ruled states. How is it that the BJP-ruled states are not able to stop it?" he asked.
Responding to PM's remarks, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) said a protector could never be a killer.
The Hindutva organisation also urged the prime minister to enact a stringent law for the protection of cows saying this was favoured by Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave. Modi had referred to Gandhi and Bhave in his speech.
"Our prime minister mentioned about Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, both of whom were in favour of a stringent law for the protection of cows. Following their words, the government should enact a stringent law and ensure its strict implementation," said VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal.
On Modi's strong message to the cow vigilantes, he claimed that the latter hit the road when the administration failed to check the killing of cows.
"Cow protectors are protectors. How can they be killers? Killers cannot be protectors," added Bansal.