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Immune to Akhlaq

Amit Shah at Moti Doongri Temple in Jaipur on Tuesday. (PTI)

New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday suggested that "misconceptions" associated with lynchings by cow vigilantes and protests by liberals would make no difference to the party's triumphant march at the hustings.

"...Misconception is spread. Sometimes Akhlaq comes during election time, sometimes award wapsi comes. New misconceptions are spread. We won elections when Akhlaq happened. We won when the award wapsi happened and we will win this time too even if they bring up some other issue," Shah told party workers in Jaipur.

This is the first time Shah has directly referred to the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq, who was killed at his home in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh in September 2015 on suspicion that he had stored beef. Asked about the atrocity in the past, Shah had termed the killing wrong and called for punishment to the culprits but on his own had not condemned it.

Akhlaq was the first of several victims of cow vigilantes since the Narendra Modi government came to power. His murder had prompted several members of civil society to return their government-sponsored awards.

Shah chose to name Akhlaq in Rajasthan, a state that had witnessed several instances of lynchings and is headed to polls by the year-end.

Rakbar Khan, a young man from Haryana, was lynched in Alwar in July when he was taking home cattle bought at a fair. Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, was also killed by a mob in Alwar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said last year that killing people in the name of " gau bhakti (cow worship)" was "not acceptable". By then, several others had been lynched by vigilante gangs.

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