New Delhi: Breaking his silence for the first time against the repeated incidents of violence by self-styled cow protection vigilante groups, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a stern message asked state governments to identify the culprits and act against these groups.

While speaking at the town-hall event on Saturday, Modi said that some people act as protectors of cow during the day but indulge in anti-social activities during the night.

“I feel very angry because of the cow protection business, some people have opened shops in the name of cow protection. Some people indulge in anti-social activities at night and become Gau Rakshaks (protector of cows) during the day. State governments should act against such people," said Modi at the townhall event at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex in Delhi.

Modi said that the biggest service for cow protection will be if people stop throwing plastic on road because cows die of eating plastic. “Many cows die from eating plastic bags thrown on road. The biggest service for cow protection would be if these people try to convince people not to throw plastic on the roads," the PM said.

The most recent act of violence by self-styled cow protectors was in Una, Gujarat, in July.

In the past 20 days of the monsoon session, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has been repeatedly cornered by the opposition parties because of repeated incidents of atrocities against dalits. Both houses of Parliament also discussed issues related to atrocities against dalits.

Prime Minister has been repeatedly making efforts to reach out to the dalit community after the recent incidents of violence against them. During the monthly radio programme, Mann Ki Baat, Modi had said that equality and equal opportunity can be the biggest guiding principle for any society and government.

With the coming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Gujarat in the next 18 months, the dalit vote share will play a crucial role in deciding which political party will form the government in these states. Modi has tried to reach out the dalit to community through government programmes of Stand-Up India, providing soft loans by banks to financially weaker sections, and also by providing LPG cooking gas cylinders to the weaker sections of the society.

Political analyst feel the comments made by Modi against self-styled cow protectors has come a little late. “The comments are a little late in the day. It looks like a delayed justification with an eye on potential dalit voters before the elections. These comments may also confuse BJP’s voters and supporters on party’s stand on cow protection," said Mumbai based political analyst Jai Mrug.

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