Indian premier calls for action against cow vigilantism
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called for tough action against those who indulged in violence in India in the name of cow vigilantism.
Modi asked all states in the country to take stringent action against those indulging in violent cow vigilantism, adding that such incidents should not be given a "communal color".
Cows are considered sacred in Hindu religion. After Modi came to power in 2014, many states in the country enacted harsher laws against cow slaughter.
India has seen increased incidents of mob lynching over beef rumors in recent months. Last month, a mob stabbed to death 16-year-old Muslim man, Junaid Khan, on a train to Mathura city from the capital New Delhi, accusing him of carrying bags full of beef.
In a similar incident also last month, a 45-year-old Muslim trader was killed by a mob of more than 100 people in Jharkhand's Ramgarh district on suspicions of carrying beef in his car.
"Strict action should be taken by the state governments against those who are violating law in the name of cow protection," he reportedly said in his address to an all-party meeting a day before a new session of parliament commences in India.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters Modi said: "Law is there for cow protection in the country. But committing crimes in the name of cow protection out of personal animosities cannot be tolerated."
Opposition parties have slammed the Indian government over cases of cow vigilantism that has hit the Muslim community particularly hard. The opposition plans to raise these cases in the coming session of the parliament.
On Saturday, a judge in the capital New Delhi while sentencing the son of an industrialist to two years in jail for killing a motorcyclist with his speeding BMW car in 2008 remarked that in India those who kill cows were dealt with stricter laws than unruly drivers.
"Sentence for killing a cow is five or seven or 14 years in different states but in case of death of a human being caused by rash or negligent driving, sentence prescribed in law is only two years," Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Kumar said, according to Hindustan Times newspaper.