Hyderabad: Making an emotional appeal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that those who were exploited should be protected and asked assaulters to attack him instead of Dalits.
Expressing concern over a spate of recent incidents, PM Modi said at a public rally here, "If you want to attack, attack me, not Dalits. If you want to shoot, shoot me."
Asking people to stop politics over Dalits, he said, "It is our responsibility to protect Dalits and those exploited. I want to tell people that discrimination between people is not acceptable. We must stop this."
PM Modi added, "We are the people who talk about 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' and if we cannot embrace our Dalit brothers and sisters, world will not forgive us. There are few bad elements, shortcomings in our society. What right do we have to ill-treat our Dalit brothers and sisters? There are few incidents that are very shameful. Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana are central to the progress of our country."
Meanwhile, earlier today, speaking in Gajwel (Telangana), PM Modi had asked people to beware of 'fake' cow protectors as they were trying to create 'tension and conflict' in the society.
He had also asked the state governments to take stringent action against them.
PM Modi, while addressing a public meeting after inaugurating a host of development projects, had accused the cow vigilantes of trying to create tension in the society and had said that they should be exposed and punished.
"I want to tell everybody beware of these fake cow protectors. These handful of vigilantes have nothing to do with cow protection, but want to create 'tanaav' (tension) and 'takrav' (conflict) in the society," PM Modi had said.
"In the name of cow protection, these fake cow protectors are trying to disturb the peace and harmony of the nation. I want the real cow protectors to expose them (fake ones) and the state governments should take stringent action against them," he had added.
On August 05, demanding justice for their community following the Una flogging incident, hundreds of Dalits and members of various civil rights organisations had began the 'Dalit Asmita Yatra', a foot march from Ahmedabad to Una town of Gir Somnath district.
Nearly 800 people had commenced the 380-km-long journey from Vejalpur area.
The foot march participants will converge at Una town on August 15 where the Dalits will hoist the tricolour on the occasion of Independence Day.
During this ten-day of foot march, the Dalit leaders will address several small gatherings on their way to Una to educate the community members about their rights.
The leaders will also try to raise a strong pitch for the allotment of agriculture land to Dalits, for which forms will be distributed to them on way.
On July 11, four Dalit youths were beaten up by cow vigilantes at Mota Samadhiyala village in Una taluka of Gir Somnath district when they were allegedly skinning a dead cow.
Though the youths pleaded that they were from the skinner community, the 'gau-rakshaks' thrashed them alleging that they were involved in cow slaughter.
ये सरकार पिछड़ों, दलितों, वंचितों की सरकार है। दलित आगे बढ़ेगा, तभी देश आगे बढ़ेगा https://t.co/sSusfkb2uV
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 7, 2016
(With Agency inputs)