Addressing an all-party meeting a day before the monsoon session of Parliament begins on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said State governments should take strict action against cow vigilantes indulging in violence.
“Some anti-social elements have made cow protection a medium for spreading anarchy. People involved in disturbing harmony in the country are also taking advantage of it,” he said.
According to him, “These affect the image of the country. State governments should take strict action against such anti-social elements.”
“Cow is treated as a mother and it is an emotive issue. But we have to understand that there are laws governing cow protection and breaking these is not an alternative.”
From Akhlaq of Dadri to Junaid of Ballabgarh: Attacks by cow vigilantes since 2015
Mr. Modi had last spoken against cow vigilantism on June 30 at the Sabarmati Ashram, calling violence in the name of ‘gau bhakti’ antithetical to Mahatma Gandhi’s views.
On August 6, 2016, too, he had spoken out against cow vigilantes, labelling them “anti-social.”
Concerns have been widely expressed in recent times over cow vigilante attacks reported from different parts of India.
Modi warns cow vigilantes, says killing people in the name of 'gau bhakti' cannot be accepted
The meeting came hours before the customary pre-session all-party meet called by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan late in the evening.
Mr. Modi also brought up the issue of political corruption, days after the family of RJD chief Lalu Prasad came under the scanner of central agencies.
“In the last few decades, the image of politicians has suffered because of the actions of some political leaders. We must convince people that not all politicians are corrupt,” he said.
“What is required is clean politics and action against corrupt politicians. It is the responsibility of all political parties to take action against such tainted leaders.”
He wanted parties to unite against those people who cried political vendetta when the law was taking its own course.
The All-India Trinamool Congress, which had earlier said it would boycott this meeting amid differences with the BJP over the recent violence in West Bengal, stayed away. The Janata Dal (United) also skipped the meeting.
The meeting began at 11 a.m., with leaders from political parties and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, among others, being present. It lasted till past 1 pm.
Opposition leaders expressed concern over the Sino-Indian stand-off, expressing the hope that the matter would be resolved soon. They also expressed concern over the disturbed situation in Kashmir.
Later, Mr. Ananth Kumar told the media that on the issue of Kashmir and China, all parties said they were with the government.
Cow vigilantes ‘anti-social’: Modi breaks his silence
“Farm distress” and the “economic burdens” on the people were also taken up. Opposition leaders took up the issue of recent attacks on minorities and Dalits.
The Prime Minister came when the meeting was on and addressed the assembled leaders for five-seven minutes, said a participant.
The issue of cow vigilantism and political corruption apart, Mr. Modi commended both sides on the dignified nature of the presidential campaign, adding that it would have been good if a consensus had been arrived at.
Mr. Modi also called upon all parties to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement, which falls on August 9.