GUWAHATI, July 4 - While many people in India may consider the cow to be a sacred animal, lynching people in the name of cow protection cannot be condoned.
This was stated here today by Ram Madhav, national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Director of India Foundation.
Speaking during the valedictory session of the 8th India Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue which concluded here today, Madhav said, �For us in India, cow is sacred. Cow protection is sacred. But (human) life is also sacred. There is nothing sacred about lynching (people) in the name of cow protection.�
Raising the issue of illegal movement of cattle across the border from India to Bangladesh, which has become a major topic in Assam during recent years, Madhav said that there is a need to devise means to check such activities.
The senior BJP leader said that secularism is not �anti-religion� but rather in India it calls for freedom of worship and respect for all religions.
He said that religion cannot be allowed to be used for political purposes and there is no scope for communal agenda in our political discourse.
Madhav said that Bangladesh faces the same problem as India as far as the issue of religion and religious fundamentalism is concerned.
He said that areas like trade and commerce and cooperation in security and counter-terrorism are among those where New Delhi and Dhaka have managed to reach a common ground, but added that some unfinished agenda like water-sharing remains to be dealt with.
�Whatever assurances were given by previous governments (in India) will be fulfilled to the satisfaction of all stakeholders,� Madhav said, with regard to water-sharing between India and Bangladesh.
He said that India values its friendship with Bangladesh deeply. �This friendship is based on the shared bond of two peoples with one civilisation. We are civilisational cousins. There are strong bilateral trade and economic relations, there are strong government-to-government and business-to-business relations. Now people-to-people relations have also become stronger,� Madhav said.
He said that both India and Bangladesh share certain values like democracy, secularism and desire for peace and are united against violence, hate and terrorism.
The BJP leader cited IMF data to suggest that both Bangladesh and India are among the fastest growing economies of the world.
�Both nations face certain external and internal challenges. But we must not deviate from our cherished values while confronting challenges like terrorism and religious fundamentalism� India and Bangladesh can together move forward,� Madhav said.