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India’s Hindu cow-mother murder manifest

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Cow Vigilantes in India are running wild committing murders, raping and destroying, with the help of a government that is doing little to stop them. This correspondent spent six months travelling in India.

It is a common occurrence on the cacophonous roads of India. A man or woman touches a cow ambling on a street; that hand is then placed over the heart. It is a sign of adoration and respect for the cow, which Hindus treat as a revered mother symbol. It is also not uncommon to see a person’s palms assume a fervent position of prayer as they pass a stray cow. But like most adorations, there is a socioreligious psychological cord that binds and blinds. One of the largest Hindu festivals in India is Gopastami, dedicated to Lord Krishna and his celestial love for cows.

In India today, ‘the slaughter of cows’ is banned in most States.  Armed Hindu Cow Vigilantes roam the streets, attacking anyone who they suspect of transporting or eating beef. It is not surprising that most of the people attacked are Muslim, who before the beef ban, ran successful “slaughter houses.” The old Hindu-Muslim communal clash, an ancient antagonistic affliction, is now once again, rearing its ugly bovine head and brandishing its bloody horns. The big difference now, is that myriad Indians feel that the present government is empowering Cow Vigilantes by its feeble, almost non- existent response to gruesome tragedies that seem to occur every other month. Men have been tortured and hacked to death, children dismembered and killed, women paraded naked and raped, by Cow Vigilantes because of a mere suspicion that they were dealing or eating beef. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi spouts thinly veiled impotent legal threats against the Cow Vigilantes. Mostly, after mobs murder, rape and destroy, the criminals go scot free as the local police sit, watch and do not respond to complaints. Compared to the number of glaring atrocities, arrests are few and convictions rare. This is the new normal in India today. In the Indian State of Gujarat, Modi’s home, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, with the help of the assembly, is trying to amend a previous cow protection law. They have introduced a ‘life in prison’ sentence for anyone slaughtering a cow. He has publicly stated on innumerable occasions that “The cow is the single-most important principal towards saving the whole world from both moral and spiritual degradation.” And so, to achieve their end, people of his ilk, aid and abet the Cow Vigilantes, who murder, rape and destroy. One wonders how Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammad, Socrates, Aristotle, Confucius or Nietzsche, would react to his philosophical prescription for saving the world.

This is an exemplary example for Pundits to dissect and pontificate upon: Does the punishment fit the crime? Or does the darkness of this draconian law, and the dangerous social retaliatory consequences that India is seeing right now, throw shadows of ugly Fascism onto billions of people? Nobody among the teeming millions in India it seems, have the cojones to ask this of their government.

 In Banswara, Rajasthan, a former businessman, Amjad Khan who owned abattoirs that slaughtered cows, for the profitable beef market told this correspondent, “The Hindus have the upper hand now because of Modi. The Cow Vigilantes are raping and murdering in the name of the cow, and the government turns the other way. I now deal in goats, but still, they turn up week after week, hoping that they will catch me with cow meat. They are just looking for ways to kill me. They are abusive, they threaten… and the law it seems is on their side. I tried to lodge a complaint at the police station; they laughed at me saying that I was making it all up. I guess I need to be beaten and bleeding for them to do something. Most of the police personnel are Hindus… so there you go, what can I do? Just the other day, they beat a Muslim man because they heard that he was dealing in beef. There was no truth to it, still they smashed his face, entered his home and destroyed everything in it. They abused and slapped his wife and threatened his children with death. They screamed that they had proof that he was secretly dealing in beef. This is the India we now live in. “This is a Hindu country;” I have heard them say many times. “These are our laws and you will follow them.” They talk of law, but what they are doing is wrong and illegal. It is their Raj right now, we are poor minorities here.”

In Mewat, Haryana, a 20-year-old Muslim woman was brutally gang raped by a Cow Vigilante group because they had heard that she secretly ate beef. The Cow Vigilantes broke down her front door, murdered her uncle and aunt and then assaulted and raped her. Senior police officers stated that “the men had no links to Cow Vigilante groups.” The police arrested 4 men, but given the lengthy convoluted judicial procedures in India, it will be years before the case comes up for a hearing. In Bisara village in Uttar Pradesh a farmer, Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched in broad daylight because the Cow Vigilantes thought that he was storing beef in his home. Video recordings of Cow Vigilantes slamming women to the ground, kicking them viciously, and spitting on them have often been sent to the police, but there has been little or no known action taken.

Yogendra Arya, a self-styled “holy man” is president of India’s largest and most volatile Cow Vigilante chapters in Haryana. “The cow is the mother of the whole world,” he has stated in his cryptic defense. His volunteers armed with daggers, illegal revolvers and AK-47s, forced two suspected beef smugglers to eat a revolting mix of cow dung, cow urine, milk and curd. They brazenly filmed this disgusting inhuman act for the world to view! These are barbarous well documented cases which cried to be investigated. The perpetrators should have been prosecuted by laws that exist in the Indian Penal Code, but nothing happened. The Modi government arrogantly dismissed the claims of people who wanted legal convictions to these atrocities.

In Goa, tourist destination for millions, beef can still be eaten, but the majority Christian population there feels the collective tremor that minorities in India are now experiencing. “There have been many instances,” says Bosco Fernandes, “where crosses have been vandalized or destroyed. This is now a Hindu country, Modi rules. If you are a Christian, you feel that you do not belong. Yes, we can still eat beef here, but it will not be long before they ban it.” In Mumbai, the commercial center of India, and the Capital New Delhi, beef is banned, but you can still procure it if you have connections to night runners who smuggle beef into Mumbai and New Delhi from Goa. Most meat eaters in Mumbai and the rest of India eat “Buff” which is water buffalo, but given a chance to eat beef, there are people, especially the rich and connected, who are occasionally willing to risk their lives for a good juicy Filet Mignon.

The Hindus today, have a big beef with beef. Before the current rule of Prime Minister Modi and his B.J.P. party, the Congress held sway and the “slaughter of cows” was big business. And, then in May 2014, Modi was elected Prime Minister. And that is when the first rumblings of “Cow Vigilantes” began. Fanatic Hindus felt embolden because Modi is a member of the right wing organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh {RSS} a militant hard core Hindu organization that wants the minority Christians and Muslims to accept India as a Hindu nation.

Prime Minister Modi is seen by millions of Indians as a Hindu die hard, who was elected by the Hindus and for the Hindus. Before he was Prime Minister, Modi was Chief Minister in the State of Gujarat during the 2002 Godhra riots when rabid Hindu mobs attacked Muslims over a train burning incident. Independent sources allege that over 2,000 people died and 150,000 people sheltered in refugee camps. Describing the sexual violence perpetrated against Muslim women and girls, Renu Khanna, who documented the genocide, wrote that survivors reported ‘that sexual violence consisted of forced nudity, mass rapes, gang-rapes, mutilation, insertion of objects into bodies, cutting of breasts, slitting the stomach and reproductive organs, and carving of Hindu religious symbols on women’s body parts.’ And it is alleged that Chief Minister Modi, sat back and let the Hindus slaughter the Muslims. For his sustained glaring inaction, Modi became an international pariah. In February 2005, he applied for a U.S Visa. The Bush administration refused to let him step on American soil because “any government official who was responsible for, or directly carried out at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedoms,” was ineligible for a U.S. visa. It was clear to the world that the government of The United States held Modi responsible for the mass killings. The government in the United Kingdom did the same and so did a host of European countries who believed that there existed irrefutable proof that Modi was responsible for the genocide.

And now, this man, a former tea stall owner, is the Prime Minister who rules over 1.31 billion Indians. His opposition and the minority population in India believe that Modi is a criminal, and that his exoneration by Indian courts was a political eye wash that cannot erase the blood stains embedded in his soul. Meanwhile, knife wielding Cow Vigilantes roam the streets, with no legal, political, or social barriers, to stop them. Their patriotic duty they state is to apprehend and punish anyone who violates the beef ban. “They are brutally beating, killing and raping on just a mere suspicion that someone is dealing or eating beef,” says Cynthia Rebello, who lives in Panjim, Goa. “The Hindus are doing this, they say, to protect their beloved mother symbol. I wonder what their real mothers think about the murders they commit, the women they rape and molest, and the children they physically abuse, in the name of religion, and a cow, they publicly call their mother.”

 

 

Godfrey Pereira

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