PM Modi’s popularity rising, lynchings being done to defame him, claims Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal

New Delhi | By
Jul 22, 2018 11:43 AM IST

Union minister and senior BJP leader Arjun Ram Meghwal said incidents such lynchings would increase the more popular PM Narendra Modi becomes.

More “lynching incidents will take place” with the “rise in popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said on Saturday, suggesting a conspiracy was at play to defame the BJP and the central government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) is welcomed by minister of state Arjun Ram Meghwal (left) for the first day of budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi, in January 2018.(Arvind Yadav/HT File Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) is welcomed by minister of state Arjun Ram Meghwal (left) for the first day of budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi, in January 2018.(Arvind Yadav/HT File Photo)

“The more popular Modi ji becomes, the more such incidents will happen. During Bihar elections, it was ‘award wapsi’; in Uttar Pradesh, it was mob lynching. For 2019 elections, it will be something else. PM Modi gave several schemes, their effects can be seen, this (lynching) incident is just one reaction to it,” he said.

The minister was reacting to the killing of a Muslim man, Rakbar Khan, who was lynched by a mob in Rajasthan’s Alwar district over rumours that he was smuggling cow late on Friday.

Meghwal also termed the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 as the “biggest case of mob lynching” in India. “We condemn mob lynching but this isn’t a single incident. You have to trace this back in history. Why does this happen? Who should stop this? What happened with Sikhs in 1984 was the biggest mob lynching of this nation’s history,” he told reporters in Jaipur.

The killing comes four days after the central and state governments came under a sharp criticism from the Supreme Court over frequent lynching incidents. The Supreme Court also asked Parliament to come up with a law to tackle cow vigilantism and lynch, calling such incidents “horrendous acts of mobocracy” that should be nipped in the bud.

It is the third such incident in Alwar since April last year when dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was beaten to death by a mob. Another man, Umar Mohammed, 35, also a dairy farmer was found dead near the railway tracks in Alwar in November 2017. He was also allegedly killed by vigilantes when he was transporting cows to his home in Pahari tehsil of the district.

The latest incident came hours after Modi in his speech to the Lok Sabha on Friday said “the incidents of violence are against the basic principles of humanity”, urging state governments to take strict action in such cases.

BJP bigwigs in Rajasthan, which goes to polls later this year, were quick to condemn the murder that took place hours before party chief Amit Shah landed in Jaipur to address the concluding session of the party’s state working committee meeting.

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who had stayed silent for over a month when a dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, also in Alwar, was similarly lynched by a mob in April last year, was quick to speak up this time.

“The incident of the alleged lynching of a person transporting bovines in Alwar district is condemnable. Strictest possible action shall be taken against the perpetrators,” she said in a tweet. “Such behaviour is certainly abhorrent and despicable – and not characteristic of Rajasthan. We shall make all efforts to prevent such instances.”

Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria, who had called the last year’s victim “a cow smuggler” in the state assembly and had backed the police clean chit to the six accused, was also quick to condemn this time.

“We will take strict action against the people responsible for this incident,” he told reporters at the venue of BJP’s meeting.

Ramgarh MLA Gyandev Ahuja raised suspicion on “the role of the Alwar police”. “There is rampant cow smuggling on the Alwar-Haryana border. I have asked people in my constituency not to take law in their own hands. I demand that the government order a judicial inquiry.”

Others, meanwhile, slammed the BJP for the rise in cases of mob violence in the name of cow.

“Any statement from BJP leaders opposing the lynching is hypocrisy. The mob violence has the indirect support of the BJP. In Rajasthan, the communal and regional polarisation is BJP’s creation,” political analyst Rajiv Gupta said.

The state Congress slammed the BJP for failing to stop such attacks. “Saddened by news of a man beaten to death in Alwar. Killing of people on “suspicion” is sadly becoming a norm in BJP-ruled states,” party’s state president Sachin Pilot tweeted.

Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot termed the incident “horrific”. “For BJP, human life has no value. Criminals guised as vigilantes are roaming freely with out fear of law n order. The PM remains silent on such cases of #lynchings n the State CM orders customary inquiries, wherein actual accused are hardly arrested or punished,” Gehlot said in series of tweets.

At a rally in Kolkata, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the BJP and RSS are creating Talibanis among people.

Khan, in his 30s, was taking two cows to his village in Haryana when he attacked by locals while passing through Alwar.

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    Manoj Ahuja is a principal correspondent based in Indore. He writes on business, agriculture and aviation. His focus is on south-western Madhya Pradesh, particularly the tribal belt.

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