Mohan Bhagwat takes pride of Gau Rakshaks on auspicious Vijaydashmi

New Delhi, Oct 12: Who else would rather support the cow vigilantes of the country other than RSS  chief Mohan Bhagwat? It make no sense if he pull out support to his cadres who  claims to be  ‘Gau Rakhaks’.

Being  the RSS supremo  Bhagwat chose to speak about the  importance of cow vigilantes while addressing  volunteers at the organisation’s  headquarters in Nagpur  on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashmi and the 91st anniversary of ‘Sangh.

“Cow is our mother  and all gau rakshaks working to protect her are good people. They  work  within the  legal and  constitutional framework,” said Bhagwat during  the address.

On July 11, seven members of a Dalit family in Gujarat’s Una town, involved in leather trading and they were attacked and brutally assaulted. Four of them were stripped half-naked, tied to a car, dragged for about a kilometre and then beaten up with iron rods and sticks. What was their crime? They were found skinning the carcass of a cow brought from a neighbouring village by the self-proclaimed gau rakshaks.

But still Bhgwat believe that gaurakshaks work within the legal and constitutional framework. Last few years have witnessed worst politics surrounding cow and the violence erupted in the name of the cow  protection.

Last year, a right-wing Hindu mob, over the rumours of possessing beef  killed Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh. The political debate raged on whether Akhlaq indeed had beef in his possession or not, while the bigger question of how did a group of men get the licence to beat up a man for possession a kind of meat was somewhere lost.

A year later, an FIR was filed against the Akhlaq family under the Cow Slaughter Act with no concrete steps from the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to prevent such brutalities.

The cow worship is  not new in India. We have been  taught ‘Gau  hamari  mata hai’ – Cow is our mother-  but it has been instilled only in the Hindu psyche for a long time.

But with the politicisation of this herbivorous, the cow-protection  groups have become most lethal species. Now it has become another blood-sport of extremist Right group in India.

Every time, a crime takes place in the name of cow slaughter, the ministers of the Narendra Modi governments limit themselves to paying lip-service and cloaking the incident under vague terms “unfortunate,” “condemn” or “upset over the incident,” while these gau rakshaks become more brazen under the protection of the right wing groups.

Political outfits like the RSS, VHP and their Hindutva agenda have totally  left gaurakshaks untied to create ripple and spread violence in the name of justice.

A fact-finding team that visited Una following the assault of Dalits, said that the Dalit community has become a “soft target” of the cow vigilantes. Kaushik Parmar of the fact-finding team said that it was not an one-off incident as many have become victims of these gau rakshaks.

“The label has now  become a easy mode to target Dalits. These vigilantes were earlier focussing on curbing the cow slaughtering and later shifting the agenda,” he said.

Somehow, they (gau rakshaks) seemed to have not only organised themselves in vigilante groups in Gujarat, but have also become bold enough to act and then publicise their barbarity. If the BJP wants to assuage Dalits, it must not only ensure strict punishment to the guilty, but also outlaw such groups.”

The situation in Gujarat has given an opportunity to politicians like Mayawati, Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi to train their guns against the Modi government and gain some brownie points. The turmoil in Gujarat that followed is the incident is a testimony of the Dalit community’s desperation to get justice. With an eye on the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, the BJP is out to woo the Dalit votes.

In the face of the recent violence, the party needs to rethink its Hindutva agenda and rein in its foot soldiers. The rising Dalit anger against the saffron party could cost it an important state.