It has become a “fashion” for “pseudo-secularists” to raise their voice against cow protection vigilante groups, a senior BJP MP said in the Lok Sabha Thursday. These people have been making “a mountain out of a molehill” by shouting against “minor” incidents here and there, he said, referring to the reports on atrocities on Dalits and Muslims in the name of cow protection.
Hukum Singh, a senior party leader and a former minister in Uttar Pradesh, hit back at Opposition leaders for not bothering to understand the “pain” of those who revere the cow but who choose to “politicise” any incident involving “protection of cows.”
Speaking during the debate on supplementary demands for grants, Hukum Singh, the first speaker from the BJP, brought up the “atrocities committed against cows”. He said he himself had seen a herd of cows being transported in a truck from state to another. “At least 15 of them could have died and the dead cows could have been taken to slaughterhouses and sold as beef. Can there be anything more serious than this?” he said.
His comments provoked Opposition MPs who rose to protest, while the BJP MPs shouted at them asking them to sit down. “Try to understand Bharat. Try to understand what Gandhiji had said,” Rajendra Agrawal, Meerut MP, was heard shouting.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was present when the debate started, had left by the time these comments came.
“If we demand action against such illegal activities, it will be termed suppression. Have you ever thought how much it hurt us? Why do you think it should not agitate us? Why do you not feel the pain,” Hukum Singh said.
Stressing that the cow provides the “best nutritious food” he said: “Why do you have so much hatred against cows? Shouldn’t these acts against cows be punished? Now it has become a fashion to be a pseudo-secularist… Let me say bluntly, I come from a family that reveres cows. There may be small or minor incidents here and there. Some people try to make a mountain out of a molehill and shout slogans against it.”
This was an apparent reference to the Opposition’s outcry over the rising number of atrocities against Dalits and Muslims by cow vigilante groups, especially in BJP-ruled states.
Hukum Singh, who was an MLA from UP for seven terms, asked if it is not important, then why cow protection has been banned in many states. “There are politicians who made their programmes on these incidents.. But it’s not true secularism… They are a blot on the name of secularism,” he said.
The Congress’s K C Venugopal, who initiated the debate, has warned the government that assaults in the name of cow protection and growing intolerance could hurt economic development.