The Opposition today targeted the government over the lynchings, with the Congress accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "creating such an environment" and indulging in "double speak" on the issue. Congress leader Kapil Sibal, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha on lynchings, alleged that the prime minister was doing nothing to restrain cow vigilantes who, he said, include elements from VHP and Bajrang Dal. He was participating in a discussion on the 'situation arising out of the reported increase in the incidents of lynching and arocities on minorities and dalits across the country' which started yesterday.
Sibal said the year 2017 has witnessed maximum murders and the cattle ban had negatively impacted leather industry besides industries like soap and shampoo.
"I am shaken and shattered by the images of grotesque violence and heart-wrenching scenes (which) I have seen on social media and Twitter. We did not see it in the last 50 years," he said.
He went on to question, "What is the sentiment behind it? Why 97 per cent of the violence has taken place after 2017?"
Targeting the prime minister, he said it was Modi who had "provoked" such sentiments and quoted his three speeches on October 8, 2015, August 6, 2016 and June 29,2017.
Sibal said paradoxically in one of the speeches, the PM had said that some people were involved in the crime during night and during the day they converted into 'gaurakshaks' but no action was taken against such people.
"It is the PM whose statement is different during night and different during day...It is PM who is creating such environment. It is better to stop double speak and come clean," the Congress leader said.
He said the prime minister should not just quote Mahatma Gandhi but follow him in letter and spirit.
Sibal said the VHP has announced creating a "holy army of gaurakshaks" and recruited 2,700 people.
"These are recruited by VHP and trained by Bajrang Dal," he said and questioned "Why doesn't he (PM) say that VHP and Bajrang Dal were anti-social? He gets political support for elections. Hindutva ideology has created a reign of terror," Sibal said.
He said the fight today is between "fake" and "real" hindu.
He said the House needs to rise to stop hooligans who were out to destroy peace and tranquility of the nation.
The Congress leader alleged that government was not able to even take care of cows as 50 cows had lost their lives in Haryana as they were not taken care of well.
Raising a point of order, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Sibal should authenticate three statements of the PM which he quoted, else these should be expunged.
He also objected to mention of VHP and Bajrang Dal, saying it is the practice not to mention those who are absent from the floor of the House and cannot defend themselves.
Naresh Gujral (SAD), while participating in the debate, urged the members to refrain from giving political colour to incidents in a land where Buddha and Mahavir spread the message of tolerance.
Asserting that goondaism cannot be tolerated, he said the governemnt could talk to the Chief Justice of India for creating special court for speedy trial of lynching cases, which amounted to acts like "terrorism".
He said it was time that this "madness" was brought to an end as people are becoming reluctant to come and invest in India in such an atmosphere.
Attacking the government, Sharad Yadav (JDU) said the incidents of lynching were more deadly than killings by Talibans and Afghans.
When religion overtakes poltics or vise versa, internal conflicts are created, he said and pointed towards Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria.
Yadav said, "it is unfortunate that such a condition has been created in the country that a student from JNU goes traceless, people are lynched in the name of cow and condition has become so bad that people are afraid of travelling in buses and trains."
He said BJP-ruled states were witnessing maximum cases of lynching. Such incidents occurred in 14 districts of Jharkhand, 11 districts of UP, 9 districts of Haryana, 5 districts of Rajasthan and 4 districts each of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, Yadav said.
Alleging that laws were being trampled, he asked the government to take "corrective measures as the minority community of India has chosen the country to live and die here."
"Don't provoke him. Stop this drama," he said and alleged that livestock was being destroyed on the one side and 12,000 farmers were committing suicide in the country on the other side.
Attacking the Opposition for linking lynching incidents with RSS, Prabhat Jha (BJP) said "this is not fair" as the Sangh has played a key role in the country's development.
Referring to Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad's remark against RSS made in the House yesterday, Jha said, "You may not know about Sangh. You might have read about it from papers. We have been part of the Sangh. I am compelled to share what is Sangh all about."
He said a group of 3,000-odd RSS members were invited to participate in the 1963 Republic Day parade by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
"Many do not know about this. The RSS was invited for its contribution. You should not level charges against Sangh when you don't know about it," he said and urged them to show "magnanimity" in politics.
Urging the Opposition not to do "politics in the name of Sangh," Jha sought to know why Congress was silent on the issue of separate state flag been demanded in Karnataka.
He said the country belongs to all and everyone should take equal responsibility.
Urging the Opposition not to be selective in mentioning the lynching incidents, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Javedekar said any such crime should not only be condemned but should be stopped.
"We will not tolerate lynching...Don't walk on the path of defaming the nation's image with these incidents. One should not be victim of selective amnesia and see the incidents with political eye," he said.
States, be it BJP or non-BJP ruled, should take stringent action against those involved in lynching, he said as he listed out 2012 and 2013 lynching incidents.
Targeting the Congress, Javadekar said burning of 3,000- odd Sikhs in the 1984 riots was "one of the biggest lynching incidents in India's history".
"Even killing of 59 devotees of Ram in Godhra train burning in 2002 was also lynching," he said.
In 2012, 25 people were killed in 16 lynching incidents in eight states, while 18 were killed in 14 such incidents occured in 2013 in six states, the minister added.
Reacting to Javedekar's remark, Azad said, "If the education minister has such a thinking, we can very well imagine what kind of education is and will be imparted in the country."
He attacked the HRD minister for putting things in a selective manner, saying that it was Congress that had contributed to the making of the country.
"We, Congress, have contributed to the making of the country. You were with British. We have given our blood for the nation. Have you taken a contract for making of Bharat?" he said and staged a walkout.
JDU, SP, BSP and Left members also staged a walkout on this issue. They all returned after 10 minutes.
D Raja (CPI) said lynching is a societal problem and the centre should frame a separate law to prevent such incidents rather than asking states to contain.
There is a need to understand that a "dangerous" trend is uprising with 'mob lynching' -- which is part of "Bhramanical fascism" and "part of an ideology and political theory" -- taking over the political structure, he said.
No arrests been made and even accused are acquitted in the recent incidents, he said and emphasised the need to put in place a central law to curb such elements.
K T S Tusli (Nom) demanded ban of the communal organisations involved in lynchings.
No law has been enforced to contain these incidents, which are more in BJP ruled states, he said, quoting a study that found 32 out 63 cases were in BJP ruled states.
Rajeev Chandrashekar (Ind) said that sentiments of Hindus are as important as Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. If the sentiments of a large community are hurt then those should be addressed.
He also talked about the prevailing "double standard of polity" while highlighting the killings of BJP workers in Karnataka and Kerala, and urged to the Opposition parties to stop the "hypocracy".
Congress member Kumari Selja said every Indian feels sad that the country was being described as "Lynchistan" and it was a matter of shame for all.
She said an atmosphere of fear was being created on the basis of an ideology and such incidents were taking place on a daily basis.
Pointing towards the treasury benches, Ali Anwar Ansari of the JD (U) said the "disease called lynching is an outcome of your party's (BJP) ideology."
In an apparent reference to the BJP, K K Ragesh of the CPI (M) said it was dividing people on communal lines and has attained momentum in states like Gujarat by the politics of spitting communal venom which is the basis of mob lynching.
He said the BJP was targeting Kerala with the same divisive momentum and spitting communal venom.
Hearing this, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman raised an objection saying Ragesh was "insinuating" in the Upper House. Other BJP members including Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also stood up and objected to the remarks made by Ragesh.
TKS Elangovan of the DMK said mob lynching is not acceptable and alleged that the mobs or groups resorting to such acts have the support of some Hindutva group.
He further said it was not about the RSS or VHP but about people who claim they are committing violent acts in the name of Hindutva.
Killing in name of cow 'sentiment' not acceptable: Govt
The government today asserted that killings in the name of cow "sentiments" was unacceptable and said the state governments should take stern action against those indulging in such violence. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was speaking on the issue of lynchings in the Rajya Sabha on behalf of ailing Home Minister Rajnath Singh, made it clear that the central government could not be blamed for violence by "some people".
"The government's stand is clear. Nobody is allowed to do that (lynching in the name of cow protection). There is no rationalisation, no arguments of sentiments being hurt can be an explanation for this. And, the government is absolutely committed," he said.
Jaitley, who is also the Leader of the House, was replying to a debate on 'situation arising out of the reported increase in the incidents of lynching and atrocities on minorities and dalits across the country', during which the opposition parties slammed the government and particularly targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over such incidents.
Noting that the prime minister had spoken thrice against cow vigilantism, he said "no amount of sympathy" will be shown for those who indulge in lynching and "law will certainly take its own course."
He said the government unequivocally condemns the killings of human beings in the name of protecting cows and said "violence can never be a partisan issue and can't be justified."
Rejecting the Opposition's allegation that no action was taken in the cases of lynching, Jaitley asserted that "legal action was taken systematically in each incident. People were arrested and they are in jail. They are all going to be chargesheeted against whom evidence is going to be found...
This is clear and there is no 'ifs' and 'buts'."
In his speech, he emphasised that cow slaughter was banned in most of the states since the time of first prime minister Jawaharalal Nehru, who was "secular and not over- religious" unlike Indira Gandhi who was "more religious".
"This (ban on cow slaughter) was not proposed by Modi ji or Rajnath ji. This was said by Ambedkar during Nehru's time," Jaitley said, adding ban on cow slaughter was presribed in the Article 48 of the Constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly.
Later, it was made part of 7th Schedule of the Constitution as a result of which the matter fell under the purview of the state governments.
"At that time, neither the BJP was in place, nor was any state ruled by the BJP," he said, adding most of the states then were ruled by the Congress, which framed laws prohibiting cow slaughter.
"We have laws in place and if any such incident occurs where police is not acting and brought to our notice to this effect, the government will not think twice of requesting state governments and advising the state governments and even asking for reports as well as states are concerned," he said.
"There are no 'ifs' and 'buts'. Laws made in the states have provisions to preserve and protect cows. That right is with the state and its police. Nobody has the right to take law into their hands... If anybody does it, they should be arrested and prosecuted," he said.