After a spate of attacks by self-styled gau rakshaks on communities that skin dead cows or ferry the bovines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said he gets "angry" at those who run "shops" in the name of cow protection and wants action to be taken against them.
It's important to note that these are the Prime Minister's first comments on rising incidents of attacks by cow vigilantes he dubbed as "criminals donning the garb of cow protectors". Modi has repeatedly come under attack for staying silent during incidents that have threatened to unravel India's secular fabric. He did not immediately condemn the Dadri lynching of a Muslim villager suspected of consuming beef, seeking only to obliquely refer to it during an election rally.
His strong words will hopefully deter miscreants who resort to violence in the name of cow protection. In July, a group of Dalit youths in Una, skinning a dead cow, were beaten up by men who accused them of killing the bovine. The assault led to nationwide protests and a Dalit uprising in Gujarat against caste Hindu atrocities. Dalits have said they longer wished to skin and lift dead animals -- an occupation thrust upon them for centuries -- or clean sewers.
"Those who want to serve cows should rather work towards stopping cows from consuming plastics," Modi told an audience at the first ever townhall by an Indian prime minister.
"There is a difference between gau bhakti & gau sewak," he said. "I urge state governments to prepare a dossier on self proclaimed 'gau rakshaks'," Modi said.
The event marks two years of MyGov, the government's citizen engagement platform. A new app was launched to allow mobile users to connect with website of the Prime Minister's Office.
The event saw participation from various stakeholders including Cabinet ministers, senior officers from Ministries and Departments, government organisations, representatives from media, IT and social media industry and citizens who have participated in the MyGov initiatives.
Town Hall as a concept is commonly used in the West among politicians as well as CEOs to interact with people directly.
"Economic growth of more than 8% for 30 years will bring the best of the world to India," he said. (Inputs from ANI)