The Opposition today accused the NDA government of encouraging organisations behind the violence by cow vigilantes, with Congress claiming that lynching of people in the name of religion and cow protection began only after the BJP-led coalition assumed power at the Centre.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who initiated the discussion on the issue of mob lynching in the House, said 'Hindustan' should not be allowed to become "lynchistan". Kharge sought to know what action has been taken against cow vigilantes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scathing statements against such elements and said, "He (Prime Minister) says something and does something else."
Seeking details of the action taken against the accused in these cases, the Congress MP claimed that they had become brazen because of lack of action. Citing a number of incidents this year to say that the lynchings had mostly happened in the BJP-ruled states, he said there was an atmosphere of fear and terror across the country, which has brought a bad name to India in the world. He named Hindutva organisations like the VHP and Bajrang Dal, saying they were involved in such violence.
"The government is indirectly encouraging groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and gau bhakts (cow vigilantes)," Kharge said.
"It is also being done so that your ideology and philosophy could be established in the country," the Congress leader said, pointing to the BJP's "links" with these outfits.
BJP-ruled Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh had become centres of mob lynching, he said, adding that such incidents would become a major threat to the nation's integrity.
Referring to the murder of a BJP worker in Kerala, he said the Governor there summoned the DGP on the issue, but nothing of that sort was done in other states where the people were lynched.
BJP members objected to Kharge citing incidents, saying many of the cases he was referring to were sub-judice. Kharge was interrupted by BJP's Nishikant Dubey, who said that the cases mentioned by him were subjudice and asked why he was discussing them.
Responding to Dubey, the Congress leader asked the government how many cases were registered against cow vigilantes and how many people had been arrested.
"On one hand you disown these people, but what action is being taken against them?" he asked, adding that no action was being taken against such people.
He said the lynchings were "planned", and mentioned Pehlu Khan, who was killed in Rajasthan in April when he was transporting cows with all valid documents, and other victims of mob lynchings.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar also objected to his reference to former President Pranab Mukherjee's speech, saying it was against rules.
Kumar said action had been taken against the hooliganism which had taken place in the name of cow protection.
Countering Kharge's onslaught against the government, BJP leader Hukumdev Narayan Yadav slammed the opposition for targeting the NDA government over incidents of lynchings, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly come out strongly against such acts.
"Some people are indulging in terror activities to defame the government. They are questioning our intentions. It is wrong," he said.
Yadav equated the lynching incidents with the killing of RSS workers in Kerala and that of a police officer in Kashmir and asked whether these were not equivalent to mob violence.
He said a fight between two ideologies has been going on for several decades and asserted that those who follow the path of "economic development and nationalism" will come out victorious.