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Modi Condemns India's Spate of Cow-Related Vigilante Murders

  • On Twitter, Modi said violence will never ‘solve any problem’
  • Statement comes a day after protests against recent killings

India’s prime minister has strongly condemned a recent spate of attacks on Muslims in India, speaking out against the violence just a day after thousands participated in nationwide gatherings to protest recent mob killings.

The remarks are the first direct comments Narendra Modi has made on the issue of so-called "cow vigilantism" since a renewed surge in violence against Muslims for transporting cattle, or allegedly eating or carrying beef. Many Hindus revere cows and most Indian states have enacted laws protecting them. 

"No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands," Modi wrote on Twitter. "Violence never has and never will solve any problem. Killing people in the name of" cow worship "is not acceptable."

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party also recently tried to bring in new rules for cattle trade that industry representatives said would hurt the multi-billion dollar meat export market.

"We welcome this but action is needed on the ground," wrote Fauzan Alavi, secretary of the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association, who said that strong directives should be issued from Modi’s government to local governments and law enforcement officials. 

"Police as well as local, small-time leaders who take law into their hand should be contained with firmness or else this will continue," Alavi added.

Calming Effect

"It should calm things," said Sanjay Kumar, director at Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. "Whether it will actually have an impact needs to be seen."

However, Girish Karnad, a 79-year-old playwright and film director who attended the protests, said Modi should instead be talking to the people within the BJP who have made life difficult for cattle traders. "What’s the point of the prime minister preaching to us?" Karnad asked. "He should be preaching to his party men, to those who have created this problem in the first place."

Modi’s remarks come the day after protests across the country against mob killings. Many gathered with placards that said "Not in my name," after a 16-year-old Muslim boy was accused of being a "beef eater" and stabbed to death on a train in Haryana, not far from the capital of Delhi, according to news reports.

Opposition politicians and government critics frequently accuse Modi of not condemning violence against India’s religious minorities.

"This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve," Modi wrote. "Let’s create the India of Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams. Let’s create an India our freedom fighters would be proud of."

— With assistance by Archana Chaudhary

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