New Delhi: Speaking for the first time against cow vigilantes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said he felt "anguished" over incidents of vigilantism and has asked state governments to prepare a dossier of such "self-styled gau rakshaks".
Speaking at a Town Hall-style meeting here, Modi said: "Some people who indulge in anti-social activities in the night, wear the mask of gau rakshaks (cow protectors) during the day. I have asked the state governments to prepare a dossier of all such people."
Making a distinction between self-styled "gau rakshaks" and those who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the bovines, Modi said he felt anguished at the actions of such vigilante groups.
"Mujhe gussa aata hai (I feel anguished)," he said, and lamented that more cows die by swallowing plastics than by slaughtering.
Without naming any organisation he said the term "swayamsevak" means selfless service and those associated with it should not mistake their role to create fear psychosis among others.
"Even to campaign for limiting the use of plastics and stopping its littering around will be a big service to the welfare of the cow," he said.
His comments on cow vigilantes come after the furore over the flogging of Dalits in Gujarat's Una town for skinning a dead cow last month. Days later, two Muslim women were beaten up in Madhya Pradesh allegedly for carrying meat.
About an year ago, Akhlaq Ah, a Muslim man, was beaten to death for alleged cow slaughter in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh. Later probes showed that the meat found in Akhlaq's refrigerator was mutton, not beef. The incident had evoked widespread anger all across the country. The silence of Prime Minister Modi on the issue was also questioned.