In strong disapproval of the recent spate of lynchings in the name of cow protection, veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has said such incidents create a bad image for the country abroad and serve as a disincentive for foreign investments.
“My view is that all such incidents, and certainly a clutch of such incidents, create a bad image of the country. Not only within country but also abroad,” Sinha told IANS in an interview.
“I am relating it to economic activities and I am saying that it has an adverse impact on the economic activities. As far as lynching per se is concerned, you know unfortunately in our society, such lynching has been going on. It is not always communal,” he said.
He recalled the December 2012 gang rape of a young woman in Delhi and said while he was giving a talk on the Indian economy in Germany, the first question he was asked was about the horrible rape and murder.
“Similarly, if people feel that it is mob justice, the governments are not in control, it will be a disincentive for not only foreign investments but all investments of any kind in the country,” the former BJP minister said.
Asked about the pattern of such incidents targeting Muslims and Dalits, Sinha said it was a “question of interpretation” and cited BJP President Amit Shah’s claim that there were more lynchings earlier.
“I am not privy to those, I have not compared the figures. But the point I am making is that it certainly is a very very unwelcome trend and should be stopped as quickly as possible.”
Sinha’s remarks came as the incidents of killings, particularly related to beef-eating or cow slaughter or harming the bovine have increased in the last three years since the BJP government came to power in 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address last week condemned the vigilante killings, saying cows must be protected but within limits. “Do we get the right to kill a human being?” he said. “Is this devotion to the cow? Is this cow protection? This cannot be the path of respected Bapuji,” he said, referring to Mahatma Gandhi. “Today, when I hear that in the name of the cow someone has been killed, I say the law should take its course; human beings have no right to take the law into their hands.”
According to an analysis of IndiaSpend, a data journalism initiative, out of 63 cases of mob justice of lynchings recorded since 2010, 61 took place under the BJP government.
Twenty-four out of the 28 people killed in the attacks were Muslims. During the first six months of 2017, there were 20 cow or beef-related attacks.
On June 7, a man was attacked in Dhanbad of Jharkhand on suspicion of transporting beef to an Iftar party. Two cases of lynching over cow slaughter rumours were reported last week.
In May, some traders were thrashed in Malegaon, Maharashtra for allegedly storing beef. Before that, two more men, Abu Hanifa and Riazuddin Ali, were killed for allegedly stealing cattle in Assam.
In March this year suspected cattle traders Mohammed Majloom and Azad Khan were killed in Latehar in Jharkhand. Days later, Mohammed Shalik, 19, was tied to a pole and beaten to death, reportedly over a romantic relationship with a Hindu girl in the same state.
There were several other incidents in the name of cow, including the murder of Pehlu Khan, a cattle trader, who was killed by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan’s Alwar.
~ Sarwar Kashani and V S Chandrasekar