New Delhi: Opposition members on Monday accused the Narendra Modi government of encouraging cow vigilantes by not taking any concrete action against them, and also demanded a separate law to address the problem.

The debate over the issue in the Lok Sabha saw some heated exchanges between treasury and opposition benches, as opposition members hit out at the government for the situation.

Starting the debate, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of indirectly encouraging cow vigilantes and alleged that there was an environment of “fear and terror” in the country.

“Government should tell the house how many of these cow vigilantes have been punished… How many have been arrested. You disown them, but what action has been taken,” he asked.

“No action is taken, and rather they are encouraged. This government is against dalits, minorities and women,” Kharge said.

Urging the government not to turn Hindustan into “lynchistan”, he said the incidents of mob lynchings were not coming down.

He also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come to the House and clear his government’s stand on the issue.

Trinamool Congress’ Saugata Roy meanwhile said 97 per cent of the lynchings happened after the Modi government came to power.

“I don’t want to bring Hindu-Muslim (question) into this but 97 per cent of these killings took place after Narendra Modi came to power… 86 per cent (of victims) were Muslims. I want to ask members of the ruling party, you say you want ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’. Do you want ‘Muslim-mukt’ Bharat?” he asked, demanding Parliament should pass a law protecting people against lynching.

Biju Janata Dal leader Tathagata Satpathy said the lynchings are killing the rural economy.

“Farmers are unable to sell useless animals. The economic cycle has been put to stop. This money could be their seed money to get another loan, but now you have totally damaged rural economy.

“You have actually damaged the rural economy by lynching process, you have started a process where you eventually kill the Hindu farmer… by killing the minority, you are killing the majority,” he said.

Nationalist Congress Party’s Supriya Sule said the house should stand united against such incidents.

“We should give a message we are one as parliament in condemning it. We should pass a resolution,” she said.

BJP member Hukmdev Narayan Yadav however termed it a conspiracy against the government.

“These programmes are being run to malign the government… It is important to find out who is behind these attacks,” he said.

Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan however said it was the states’ duty to control such incidents.

“Do you want the Centre to send the Army to control goons? Even if a law is passed, it will be implemented by the state governments,” said the Lok Janshakti Party leader.

Congress member Mohammad Asrarul Haque went ahead to say the Muslims wearing skull caps and burqa were being targeted.

“People who have skull cap and beard, women in burqa are today scared to step outside in public… People make remarks and if you oppose, they attack,” he said.

The debate was taken up on Monday after a meeting of the Business Advisory Council on Thursday.

The lower house saw protests and disruptions through last week as opposition members demanded a debate on the issue, leading even to suspension of six Congress MPs for five days.