The speech at Sabarmati on June 29 was not the first time that Modi spoke out against the lynch mobs. He had expressed similar sentiments after the lynching of Dalits in Una last year. That had had little effect on the ground. But this time, many hope, it will be different.
One reason for this hope is that the prime minister spoke out a day after thousands of citizens came out in different cities of India under the "Not In My Name" banner to protest against the growing climate of hate and violence which led, most recently, to the murder of 16-year-old Junaid Khan on a train a little outside Delhi. The "enough is enough" sentiment that animated the protests may have touched Narendra Modi too and impelled him to speak, some believe. Another view is that for purely political reasons the prime minister has signalled a change of course. He does not want unruly elements, in the garb of " gau rakshaks", to mar his ambitions of becoming a world statesman, jeopardize his goal of building a 'New India'.