India seems to be hurtling towards anarchy with hate, frenzy, and violence as even animals are not spared. How many lynchings India has witnessed over the years by the so-called Gau Rakshaks claiming to be protectors of cows? There is a new low for Hindutva! A poor Muslim rickshaw puller’s family-owned some cows. The udders of cows were brutally cut by the saffron extremists! The cows were not Muslims but they were owned by Muslims. This was enough for the saffron extremists to inflict cruelty on the innocent cows. On 16th April, the Dada Jalalpur village of the Bhagwanpur region of Roorkee in Uttarakhand witnessed violence during a Shobha Yatra on Hanuman Jayanti. For ten days after the violence, saffron-robed Hindutva extremist seers relentlessly campaigned for the arrests of Muslim residents and an invocation of the stringent National Security Act against those who allegedly pelted stones at the procession. They even gave a call for a maha panchayat as part of their efforts to pressure the administration to target and torture Muslims.
Now, the cows cannot give milk anymore. The rickshaw was also burnt. The family says their livelihood was the target. They attacked the house also but the family escaped to fields where they continue to live in fear. They return only to check the house from time to time. Their house is the last house in the village and it is vulnerable to attacks by communal extremists. Does the family ask where was the police on 16th April when the violence took place? They could have protected us then quips the lady of the house. Now, police are stationed in the village to provide security.
After a stern warning from the Supreme Court, the local administration cracked down on the Hindu Mahapanchayat that was planned in the Dada Jalalpur village near Roorkee on 27th April. This prompted several residents of the village to ask why similar arrangements could not have been made during the violence reported a few days ago. It may be recalled that the Supreme Court ordered that no “untoward incident” should happen during the Mahapanchayat – referring to anti-Muslim speeches and calls to violence that were made at similar events in the past. The maha panchayat in Dada Jalalpur village was called by Mahant Anand Swaroop, who asked for a “Hindu awakening” in the aftermath of the communal clashes.
Later, taking cognizance of the Supreme Court’s directive on maha panchayats, the Uttarakhand police imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) – which prevents more than four people from gathering – in Dada Jalalpur. Security within a five-kilometer stretch of the village was also tightened to ensure no congregation or maha panchayat takes place. The police also detained Swaroop’s disciple Dineshanand who is also an organizer of the maha panchayat. Dineshanand and six others were taken into custody to ensure peace in the region. Dineshanand is the state convenor of the hardcore Kali Sena, a saffron organization spewing hate. The blatant anti-Muslim hateful rhetoric propagated by Anand Swaroop and Dineshanand is stoking fears of a bigger riot among the residents.
Many Muslim youths were arrested but those who cut the udders of the cows are neither identified nor efforts are being made to arrest them. Poor cows cannot identify their tormentors. They cannot give statements to the police. The cut and damaged udders are evidence of the cruelty inflicted on them. The poor family must be compensated for the rickshaw and the cows by the district administration. The Supreme Court stepped in and saved Dada Jalalpur for now. The question is how long the fragile peace will last? Law and order are state subjects. The state government must take proactive steps to maintain peace and communal harmony. A question must be asked to the saffron extremists cutting the udders of the cows: If a cow is your mother or Gau Mata, why did you cut the breasts of your mother?
The residents of Dada Jalalpur both Hindus and Muslims are longing for peace and harmony. They are not asking for the moon! Their wishes must surely be granted.