Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at self-styled cow protectors for the second time in two days on Sunday, condemning “fake” vigilantes who he indicated wanted tension in the name of “cow protection”.
The Prime Minister said people should be beware of “fake” cow protectors and asked state governments to take action against such elements. Modi was speaking at a public meeting at Gajwel in Telangana’s Medak district after inaugurating the state’s drinking water programme “Mission Bhagiratha”.
“Some people want ‘tanaav’ (tension) in the society in the name of cow protection,” he said.
Modi said Indian is a county full of diversities, different values and traditions and protecting its “unity and integrity is our prime responsibility”.
“The fake gau rakshakhs have nothing to do with cows. They want to create tension in society,” he said.
The PM said he salutes real “gau rakshaks” and “gau sevaks”, and appealed to them to come forward to expose fake “gau rakshaks”.
“I appeal to you to come forward lest the good work being done by you is destroyed by a handful of people for their selfish interests.”
The strong remarks came less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister broke his silence over a raging controversy over a string of attacks against Muslims and Dalits across India on the suspicion of slaughtering cows or eating beef.
“People who set up shop in the name of gau raksha (cow protection) make me angry,” Modi said at a Delhi event on Saturday.
Nationwide protests over the flogging of four Dalit men skinning a dead cow by alleged cow protection vigilantes in Gujarat last month sparked massive demonstrations.
Experts say the BJP’s chances in poll-bound states such as Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are likely to be adversely affected by the controversy with the sizeable Dalit population turning its back on the saffron party.