India Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington

New Delhi: Taking up the issue of cow vigilantism on the eve of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday put the onus on controlling hooliganism and cases of lynching on state governments and urged them to take strict action in such matters.

The Prime Minister made these comments at an all-party meeting that was attended by the entire Opposition, with the exception of the Trinamul Congress and Janata Dal (United). Both parties said their MPs were preoccupied with work.

The Opposition parties, led by the Congress, and including the Left, said they would corner the Modi government over issues like mob lynching, Kashmir, the border standoff with China, GST and agrarian distress during the session that begins on Monday.

Mr Modi’s statement on Sunday was seen as an effort at blunting the Opposition’s attack over cow vigilantism. He also sought the support of all Opposition parties in tackling “communal violence” in the name of cow protection, and urged that no political colour be given to the issue. In a series of tweets after the all-party meeting, the PM said all political parties “should collectively denounce hooliganism in the name of cow protection… The state governments should take stringent action against such anti-social elements”.

“The cow is treated as a mother and it is an emotive issue. But we have to understand that there are laws governing cow protection, and breaking it is not an alternative,” he said, adding that the cow protection issue was being used by some anti-social elements as “a tool to spread anarchy” and damage the nation’s social fabric.

Mr Modi added that such incidents sullied the image of the country.

The Prime Minister interestingly also asked all parties to extend support to the government in fighting corruption. His comments assume significance in the context of the Central agencies launching probes against two key Opposition parties — Trinamul Congress and RJD.

At the all-party meet, he said it would have been better if there had been a consensus on the presidential candidate. Mr Modi also asked all parties to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement on August 9.

The Prime Minister also said all parties should support the government in conducting parliamentary business so that constructive discussion could take place on issues of national importance.

The Congress, meanwhile, said it would ask for a debate on China and Kashmir in the coming session, even as it said it stands by the government on matters of the nation’s territorial integrity and national security. “If the government thinks that elimination and guns are the only ways to curb tension in Kashmir, we are not with them. The government has closed all doors for a dialogue on Kashmir, which has led to political suffocation in the Valley,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said. Mr Azad said that though the Congress was not in favour of stalling the proceedings of Parliament, it was forced to do so when the government did not agree to the Opposition’s “genuine demands”.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said he had demanded three new bills — on women’s reservation, farmers’ right to sell at MSP and privacy.

The Monsoon Session begins Monday and will continue till August 11. The Opposition parties’ views assume importance as 18 parties had come together under one platform to field joint presidential and vice-presidential candidates. The Opposition is also scheduled to meet on Tuesday to evolve a coordinated strategy for the session.

Among the major bills the government plans to take up are the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill 2017, Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill 2017 and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill  2017 in the Lok Sabha.

In the Rajya Sabha, the bills include the Constitution amendment bill on the national backwards commission, the Labour Code Bill, the bill extending GST to the state of Jammu and Kashmir bill, the Banking Resolution Bill and Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill 2017, among others.