New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) An aggressive opposition on Monday accused the Modi government of encouraging cow vigilantes to go for mob lynchings but the Centre argued that law and order needed to be tackled by states.
Responding to a debate in Lok Sabha under rule 193 which lasted for around six hours and saw heated exchanges between the treasury and opposition benches, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju urged members to condemn such incidents and asked states to act tough.
The Minister said the opposition was trying to gain political mileage over the killings across the country blamed on cow vigilantes.
Not satisfied with his response, the Congress, Left, Samajwadi Party and AIMIM members walked out.
“There is a trend of such incidents in the country. Be it any government in the states or at the Centre… the figure remains the same,” Rijiju said, citing figures of such reported incidents against Dalits and Muslims in various states over five years.
“Do you want the Prime Minister to break the federal structure and take over the state machinery?” he asked.
Rijiju said the issue was raked up for debate only to target the Modi government’s image whose popularity, he added, was increasing not only in the country but outside too.
“Since they have no issue, they try to create issues. Sometimes they rake up the issue of intolerance. Sometimes they organise protests like ‘Not in my name’. They raise issues like attack on churches. Now they have come with mob lynching. Three years back corruption was a big issue but this has vanished from the political sphere due to the Prime Minister’s stand against it. So they come up with such issues and walk out of the House,” he said.
He said whenever mob attacks took place in BJP-ruled states, immediate action was taken.
Initiating the debate, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said: “Hindustan should not become lynchistan.” He accused the government of indirectly encouraging cow vigilantes.
“The government should tell the House how many of these cow vigilantes have been punished… How many have been arrested. You disown them but what action has been taken,” he asked.
“No action is taken, rather they are encouraged. This government is against Dalits, minorities and women. It is also being done so that your ideology could be enforced all over the country.”
Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy demanded a separate law to address mob lynching.
Roy said 97 per cent of the lynchings happened after the Modi government took power. “86 per cent (of the victims) were Muslims. I want to ask members of the ruling party… Do you want a ‘Muslim-mukt’ Bharat?”
He said such incidents were not being controlled because the BJP leadership was shying away from condemning them.
“It took three day for the Haryana Chief Minister to condemn the incident in Bahadurgarh. The Rajasthan Chief Minister took almost a month to condemn the lynching in Alwar,” Roy said.
Biju Janata Dal leader Tathagata Satpathy said the lynchings were killing the rural economy.
BJP’s Hukmdev Narayan Yadav called the killings a conspiracy against the government. “These programmes are being run to malign the government… It is important to find out who is behind these attacks.”
Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan said it was the duty of states to control killer mobs.
“Do you want the Centre to send the Army to control goons? Even if a law is passed, it will be implemented by the state governments,” said the Lok Janshakti Party leader.
The debate was taken up on Monday after a meeting of the Business Advisory Council last week.
The Lok Sabha saw protests and disruptions all through last week as opposition members demanded a debate on the issue, leading even to suspension of six Congress MPs for five days.