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In Alwar lynching, Union minister sees bid to defame PM Modi

Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal says more lynching incidents will take place with the rise in popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, blames detractors

jaipur Updated: Jul 21, 2018 22:16 IST
Manoj Ahuja
Manoj Ahuja
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Arjun meghwal,Alwar lynching
Union Minister for Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal.(PTI File)

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

“The more popular Modi ji becomes, the more such incidents will happen. In Bihar election it was ‘Award Wapsi’, in Uttar Pradesh election it was mob lynching. In 2019 elections, it will be something else. Prime Minister Modi gave several schemes, their effects can be seen, this (lynching) incident is just one reaction to it,” Meghwal said.

The minister was reacting to alleged lynching of a Muslim man in Rajasthan’s Alwar district over suspicion of cow smuggling on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.

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 minister’s statement came even as party bigwigs in Rajasthan, which goes to polls later this year, were quick to condemn the incident that took place hours before BJP president Amit Shah reached Jaipur to address the concluding session of the party’s state working committee meeting.

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who had stayed silent over lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in Alwar in April 2017 for nearly a month, was quick to condemn the latest incident.

“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,” Raje 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 Gulabchand Kataria, who had termed Pehlu Khan a cow smuggler in the state Assembly in July 2017 and had backed the police clean chit to the six accused in that case, was also quick to condemn the Friday’s incident.

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

Political analysts, meanwhile, slammed the BJP for rise in incidents of mob violence in the name of cow protection.

“Any statement from BJP leaders opposing the lynching is hypocrisy. The mob violence that is taking place has the indirect support of BJP. In Rajasthan, the communal and regional polarization is creation of BJP and its mother organisation. There has been a rise in atrocities not only against the minorities but also against Dalits and women,” political analyst Rajiv Gupta said.

The Rajasthan unit of Congress slammed the ruling party 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. The Home Minister’s words in Parliament about state governments’ responsibility in stopping mob lynching seem even more hollow now,” state party chief Sachin Pilot tweeted.

Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot termed the incident “horrific”. He said the man was lynched despite the Supreme Court’s warnings. “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 and the state CM orders customary inquiries, wherein actual accused are hardly arrested or punished,” he said in series of tweets.

Rakbar Khan, who was in his thirties, was taking two cows to his village — Kol Gaon village in Ferozepur Jhirka tehsil of Mewat district in Haryana — through a forest near Lalawandi area in Alwar when some locals allegedly thrashed him brutally, suspecting him to be a cow smuggler. The police rushed the victim to a nearby hospital, where he was declared brought dead. Two suspects have been arrested and a manhunt launched for other suspects, police said.

In a similar incident, 50-year-old Pehlu Khan was beaten to death by cow vigilantes in the same district in April last year.

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged state governments to take stringent action against the culprits of mob lynching.

First Published: Jul 21, 2018 22:16 IST