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Hollow assurances against cow nationalism futile

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Hollow assurances against cow nationalism futile
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again come up with a statement against the savagery of clobbering humans to death in the name of cows.

He urged the states to take stringent action against those indulging in the heinous act in the all-party meet convened ahead of the winter session of the Parliament. The PM also later shared this message through twitter. He appears to be concerned about the killings of humans in the name of cows and cattle tarnishing the reputation of the nation before the world. It’s the third time in the last three years that the Prime Minister who assumed office with promises of ‘good days’ ahead and vowing to ensure the development of the nation by incorporating each and every citizen, has been compelled to talk about cow nationalism. Despite denouncing cow vigilantism twice earlier, Modi has failed to keep in check his own supporters in Sangh Parivar who take to mob lynching. The Prime Minister is making attempts to put the blame on the state governments by presenting the barbaric act, of lynching innocents in the name of clear communal agenda of Hindutwa by dividing them along religion and caste, as mere law and order problem. When the Centre ensures protection even for stray dogs, Modi through his remarks provides the culprits a chance to escape the legal clutches.

To make the mobs seem responsible for the frequent lynchings is an attempt that humiliates the citizens of India. Saffron squads under different names belonging to the Sangh Parivar that has taken over the Hindutwa agenda of cow protection are behind these slaughters. These groups that operate under different names have an ID card and a Facebook page. National media outlets have revealed that these groups distribute business cards with numbers to inform them whenever cows were being harmed by anyone. Every murder or incident of violence is recorded live and uploaded to YouTube and Facebook further promoting the happenings. All these occur with the knowledge and support of the local political leadership and the police officials. The chief accused in Dadri lynching is the son of the local BJP leader, a close ally of union Minister Mahesh Sharma. The Minister and MLA Sangeeth Som rushed to console the family of the accused and also honour the deceased culprit by draping him with the national flag.

The leader of Gau Kranti Manch was accused in the killing and hanging of two Muslim cattle traders in Jharkhand. It was the Gau Raksha Dal force who forcefully fed two Muslim traders cow dung in Gudgav. Supporters of Gau Raksha committee and Bajrang Dal who unleashed violence in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan. When the culprits were arrested, Sadhvi Kamal Didi, Gau Raksh Dal national president led a strike blocking the national highway in Pratapgarh. It was the same heinous cow vigilantes who beat Pehlu Khan to death, recorded the video and uploaded it online for promotion. It was under the district leader of Gau Raksha group and the Shiv Sena that an attack was carried out against the Dalits for skinning a dead cow in Una, Gujarat. Will the Prime Minister and his party be willing to check the cohorts who spread hatred and violence against Muslims across the nation and through the social media? Will the state governments be directed to take action independently regardless of who the culprits are? Or will the Governor be used to intimidate those involved, similar to West Bengal?

Even while each of these groups campaign hard on the social media under the banner of different organisations, the Centre feigns ignorance on such matters. There are no estimates of the mob lynchings with the National Crime Records Bureau, a national agency that collect crime data or the National Human Rights Commission that handle human rights issues. When MP N K Premachandran raised the question in the Parliament in December 2015, the union Deputy Home Minister had replied that the Centre didn’t possess such a data. The Central government believes that the state police would handle the mob lynchings in the name of cow protection as isolated cases of murder and violence in their own specific areas. In the past three years 32 people have been killed in twenty incidents. According to the reports, four incidents of violence each have taken place every month during the months from April to June.

Despite all these incidents, the Centre has been trivializing these acts of savagery as mere law and order problem. Outcries demanding stringent legislatures against the lynchings by the goons have been surfaced. Social activists who took to the streets across the world to protest cow vigilantism supporting the campaign ‘NotInMyName’, have submitted for discussion a new law named ‘Manav Suraksha Kanoon’ for the safety of the country’s citizens. Instead of providing opportunities for the culprits to escape, the government should display the audacity to curb the vigilantes who as part of mobs go on a rampage with weapons even during daylight. It would otherwise ruin the reputation of the country before the rest of the world. How will the PM and his government that fails to keep in check those in their ‘parivar’, lead the nation on to the right path?

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