Hyderabad, Aug 7 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called for protecting Dalits and for isolating and punishing fake "gau rakshaks" (cow protectors), saying they were destroying the country.
On his maiden visit to Telangana, Modi sent out clear messages during his speeches at two different platforms.
Making it clear that caste discrimination will not be allowed, he asked BJP workers to protect Dalits and asked states to act tough against fake cow vigilantes.
Addressing a meeting of BJP's booth-level workers of Telangana at L.B. Stadium here, he said that if the country has to progress, peace, unity and harmony can't be neglected.
He also called for putting an end to politicising the caste issue and alleged that some parties which considered Dalits as their vote bank and afraid of the initiatives taken by his government, were trying to raise such issues by somehow influencing Dalits.
"I want to tell all such people, if you want to attack, attack me, not my Dalit brothers. If you want to shoot, shoot me, not my Dalit brothers," Modi said without naming any party.
"Sometimes some incidents come to light which make heads hang in shame," he said and described such incidents as sin against humanity.
His remarks were in an obvious reference to the flogging of four Dalits by cow vigilantes in Gujarat's Una town on July 11.
"Is there any reason that we treat our Dalit brothers this way. What right we have to make these sections suffer when they are sufferings for centuries," he asked.
Terming caste discrimination as a social problem, Modi said it was his request to all those who want a solution to give up politics of dividing the society. "This is a social problem. The more we politicize it, the more it gets complicated."
Earlier, in his speech at a public meeting at Gajwel in Medak district, Modi called for isolating and punishing fake "gau rakshaks, saying they were out to destroy the social fabric.
Addressing the meeting after inaugurating the state's drinking water programme "Mission Bhagiratha" and launching other projects, he said India is a county full of diversities, different values and traditions and protecting its "unity and integrity is our prime responsibility".
"The fake gau rakshakhs have nothing to do with cows. They want to create tension in society," he said.
The PM said he salute real "gau rakshaks" and "gau sevaks" and appealed to them to come forward to expose fake "gau rakshaks". "I appeal to you to come forward lest the good work being done by you is destroyed by a handful of people for their selfish interests," he added.
Breaking his silence on cow vigilantism, Modi had in New Delhi 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.
On Sunday, Modi also used both the platforms to highlight the achievements of his government. He also explained how the centre and states were working together in the spirit of cooperative federalism.
At Gajwel, while he lauded the initiatives taken by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao during last two years, at the BJP workers meeting in Hyderabad, he said the party would make the state's future bright.
Central ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu, Anant Kumar, Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goel and Bandaru Dattatreya accompanied Modi.