Modi condemns killings by so-called cow protectors in India

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Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi reacted sharply to the growing atrocities in the guise of cow protection saying killing person in the name of "Gau Bhakti" is not acceptable. We are the land of Mahatma Gandhi. Many Hindus revere cows and most Indian states have enacted laws protecting them.

"This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve", Modi wrote.

In the aftermath of the killing of 15-year-old Junaid Khan on a train a day before Eid, the Prime Minister has finally broken his silence on the series of deaths from lynchings that has claimed the lives of many innocent people from minority communities. I say some people do it in order to deflect attention from their ills; they don the mantle of gau rakshaks and masquerade as cow protectors.

Modi's speech intertwined criticism of vigilantism with support for cow protection, including a retelling of a childhood memory of watching a cow cry after accidentally trampling a small child. Incidentally nearly a year ago, in August 2016, the Prime Minister had issued a similar warning to cow vigilantes after the brutal attack on Dalit youth who were stripped and beaten.

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The PM had expressed concern about the death of cows from consuming plastic and urged the people to ensure that this did not happen.

Over half of the 63 incidents between 2010-2017, were reported from the BJP-ruled states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Mr Modi's party has consistently said it does not make any distinction between citizens on the basis of religion. "We want action", said Congress party MP Renuka Chowdhury.

Apart from the cow issue, Modi also talked about tourism and how India could be the most sought-after tourist destination for tourists across the globe.

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Reminding people of Mahatma Gandhi and his principles of non-violence, Modi said - violence "never has and never will solve any problem".

The AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owasi called upon the Prime Minister to "walk the talk".

Even the Janata Dal (United), which appears to be cosying up to its former ally BJP, found Modi's words to be hollow.

Modi had first spoken on violence by gau rakshaks last August, when he said that a majority of such vigilantes were "anti-social" elements "running shops" in the name of cow protection.

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