Mobs are taking over civic spaces in India. Public lynching, a barbaric form of political expression, seems to have become the new normal in India since the Modi government came to power at the Centre. The latest news report about cow vigilantism came from Mohali where Municipal Corporation’s workers are afraid to catch stray cows out of the fear of being attacked by the owners of cattle and cow vigilantes. As many as five such attacks have taken place on the municipal workers for the last one month.
“On March 10, our team went to Mataur to catch stray cattle. There, the owner of the cow that had been caught by our team, put a knife to the throat of one of our staff and threatened to slit it, if we did not release his cattle. So, we had to release the cow. That was not the first instance. People have thrashed us when we go to catch the animals,” rued municipal worker Kesar.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned cow vigilantes that killing in the name of cow is not acceptable but the mere words cannot stop the self-appointed gau-rakshaks, and one can even argue that the condemnation of PM Modi over cow vigilantism was far too gentle to make a slight bit of impact on the vigilantes.
Truth be told, there is no point shovelling Gandhian words at people if there is no legal back up to discourage this horrific new dimension in India. Modi can only preach to the choir. The vast majority of Indians agree it’s wrong. That’s why they were out there in force. The trick lies in dismantling the gangs and those who are instigating these attacks.
These cold-blooded butchers are unfazed can be seen in the barbaric way a 45-year-old Muslim was killed in Ramgarh, Jharkhand, a day after the PM’s warning, by a 100-strong-mob that felt it was justified in finishing him off for ostensibly selling beef.
In March 2016, two Muslim cattle traders were found hanging from a tree in Jharkhand, allegedly by cattle-protection vigilantes. In July the same year, cow vigilantes mercilessly beat up seven Dalit men for skinning a dead cow in Una district, Gujarat. More recently, in April 2017, Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries in Rajasthan after a mob attacked him for allegedly transporting cows.
The chilling statement of Rajasthan’s home minister over the news is more disturbing, he told: “It is illegal to transport cows, but people ignore it and cow protectors are trying to stop such people from trafficking them.” Statements such as this are the reason why these Gau Rakshaks did not blink an eye before taking someone’s life away.
The law ministry is toying the idea of new laws for hate crimes here and there; creating new laws on hate crimes is not on their radar at the moment. There are now more than 63 acts of cow related violence since 2014, and we are sure if the words are all Modi government has for it than more will going to occur ‘in someone’s name.’