New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) Breaking his silence on cow vigilantism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said he felt "very angry" at such incidents and has asked state governments to prepare a dossier of people who are "running shops" in the name of cow protection.
"There are some people who are running shops in the name of cow protection. They indulge in anti-social activities in the night and wear the cloak of gau rakshaks (cow protectors) by the day," a visibly riled Prime Minister Modi said speaking at a Town Hall-style meeting here.
"I have asked the state governments to prepare a dossier of all such people," he said.
The opposition parties have been criticising the Prime Minister for his "silence" amid growing incidents of attacks on Dalits and Muslims by "gau rakshaks" in various parts of the country.
He sought to make a clear distinction between self-styled "gau rakshaks" and those who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the bovines and said he felt anguished at the actions of such vigilante groups.
"Mujhe bahut gussa aata hai (I feel very angry)," he said, and lamented that more cows die by swallowing plastic than by slaughtering.
The Modi government at the Centre and BJP governments in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have come under strong criticism for attacks on Dalits and Muslims by vigilante groups amid the charge that the law enforcement agencies remained mute spectators.
Four Dalit youths were flogged by cow vigilantes near Gujarat's Una town on July 11.
In BJP-ruled Jharkhand, two Muslim cattle herders were hanged by a local cow protection vigilante group in March this year.
Last month two Muslim women were beaten up at Mandsaur railway station in Madhya Pradesh on the suspicion of carrying beef even as policemen at the spot just looked on.
The Modi government had also come under attack last year following the lynching of Mohd Akhlaq in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly keeping beef in his refrigerator.
Without naming any organisation, Modi said the term "swayamsevak" means selfless service and those associated with it should not mistake their role to create a 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.
The Prime Minister recalled his stint as Chief Minister of Gujarat and said at one health camp at least two buckets full of plastic were removed from the stomach of one cow.