It’s for States to end lynchings: Centre

MoS, Home Kiren Rijiju speaks in the Lok Sabha on July 31, 2017.  

Facing the heat over attacks by cow vigilantes on Muslims and Dalits, during a debate on lynching and mob violence in the Lok Sabha on Monday, the government sought to know whether the Opposition expected it to take charge of administration in the States in a federal polity.

“I cannot imagine such a situation... They are saying that the Union government must take over State governments because of one incident. We function as per the Constitution,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said. “Why are you targeting the Prime Minister each time? Do you want the Prime Minister to break the federal structure and take over State governments?”

Paswan’s poser

Earlier, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had also asked the Opposition whether it wanted Central troops to be sent to States.

The responses came to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s charge that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken against the lynchings, nothing had been done on the ground. “He says something and does something else,” Mr. Kharge said, seeking to know how many First Information Reports had been filed and how many of the accused were in jail. Offering details of all major incidents of lynching in recent times — including the killing of Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan and Junaid Khan in Haryana — he cautioned that India (Hindustan) must not be allowed to degenerate into “Lynchistan.”

Accusing Hindutva outfits of being behind the incidents, Mr. Kharge sought to know what the Prime Minister would do to stop them.

While he was relating the incidents, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and BJP MP Nishikant Dubey objected, saying that he was mentioning matters that were sub-judice.

In his reply around 6 p.m. at the end of the debate, Mr. Rijiju sought to counter the charge that there was a spurt in attacks on Muslims and Dalits after the NDA government came to power.

It’s for States to end lynchings: Centre

He said he could relate many incidents of 2014 and earlier – under Congress-led governments – when there were such attacks on minorities, mentioning a riot in a village of Maharashtra on March 17, 2014, over the alleged carrying of beef.

“Did the then Prime Minister ever condemn such incidents? Did you ever make it an issue?” he sought to know.

Midway through Mr. Rijiju’s reply, Congress and Left MPs staged a walkout.

Mr. Rijiju then furnished statistics: Kerala recorded most incidents of communal violence in 2014; Uttar Pradesh, followed by Telangana and Karnataka, in 2015; and U.P., followed by West Bengal and Kerala, in 2016.

All-India Trinamool Congress MPs protested, to which Mr. Rijiju said the figures were sent by State governments.

Mr. Rijiju also gave statistics of violence against Dalits over the years, saying that till 2016, the highest number of atrocities had been in U.P., followed by Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

He also claimed that States where recent lynchings happened took prompt action, with FIRs being filed and arrests being made, mentioning details about Rajasthan, Haryana and other places.

When Saugata Roy of the AITC sought to know how some of the accused got bail so soon, Mr. Rijiju asked him whether he wanted the government to interfere in the court’s work too.

Earlier, as the first speaker from the BJP, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav quoted socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia to say that Indian Muslims were “former Hindus” and they should keep this in mind and respect Hindu customs too.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 8:32:25 AM |

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