Thousands of cow vigilantes to hit Delhi on November 6 despite Indian PM's stern message
More than 100,000 people will perform a ceremony on the banks of Yamuna river in a show of strength and defiance. Photograph: (Getty)
Despite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tough message against cow vigilantism, thousands of gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) are set to descend on Delhi on November 6.
A stadium is being booked in the national capital to accommodate the invitees, numbering more than a lakh. A ceremony will also be held on the banks of Yamuna river that very evening which may coincide with the North Indian festival of Chhath.
Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Govindacharya, the chief organiser of the event, said any person associated with the party cannot go against the cow protection movement.
"We will organise such awareness programmes at state levels throughout India," he said.
It is pertinent to mention that RSS is the parent body of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Meanwhile, the BJP-ruled Indian government is worried about the fact that cow vigilantism has accentuated caste differences within the larger rubric of Hindu politics. The party feels that such activism may hurt them in next year's elections in Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in India.
BJP, however, is trying to draw a fine line between vigilantism and 'love for cows'.
"The prime minister did not speak against cow protection. He spoke against cow vigilantism and those who take the law into their own hands and create social conflict," said BJP spokesperson Sudesh Verma.
The headache doesn't seem to end for the BJP as a number of cow protection associations have started targeting BJP governments at the state level itself.
One such meeting, held on Monday in Jaipur and attended by 550 members representing 125 cow shelters across western state Rajasthan, openly spoke against the government.
"We decided that if the Rajasthan government does not improve the current infrastructure, then all the bovines in the state would be taken to respective district magistrate's residence and set free," said Govindacharya.
Sources say that at this juncture despite a strong position being taken by the Centre, RSS will not disassociate itself from the issue of cow protection. As expected, the Congress has found a good opportunity to attack the BJP on the issue.
(This article first appeared on DNA)