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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 32 New Delhi July 30, 2016

BJP and Cow Brigade

Tuesday 2 August 2016, by SC

EDITORIAL

As we go to press, news has come that yesterday two Muslim women, suspected of carrying beef, were beaten up and abused at a railway station in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district. The police had reportedly come to the railway station to arrest the women on receiving information that they were travelling with 30 kg of beef to sell. However, before the police could do anything a mob that had gathered there began to thrash the women. The mob allegedly comprised activists of the Hindu Dal, obviously one of the numerous fringe groups belonging to the Sangh Parivar.

Now, look at the kind of ‘division of labour’ in the BJP. Party MLA Yashpal Sisodia strongly defended the Hindu Dal activists, saying: “Those (Muslim) women are criminals and it was women who beat them up, so it’s a reaction to an action.” This was almost an echo of what Narendra Modi, our present PM who was the Gujarat CM in 2002, had said following the post-Godhra anti-Muslim pogrom in the State in February-March that year: “According to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Madhya Pradesh being a BJP-ruled State, its Home Minister had to adopt a different stance owing to his constitutionally held position. He promised to initiate “action against those who have attempted to take law in their hands”. He also disclosed that, according to the veterinary report, “prima facie it (the meat the Muslim women carried) was found to be buffalo meat”.

The Hindustan Times report informed:

Slaughter of buffalo and consumption of its meat are legal in the State, but sellers require a permit from the local civic body for the same. Since the two women did not have the necessary permit, they have been booked by the police.

This was also what the Minister conveyed.

This incident has come just a fortnight after four Dalit youth were flogged by cow protection vigilantes for having allegedly skinned a dead cow in Gujarat’s Una district. That sparked a massive outrage with Dalits taking to the streets to register their anguish and indignation against the persecution of members of their own community.

Yesterday’s incident at Mandsaur justifiably triggered resentment in the Rajya Sabha today on the lines of the Upper House members’ vociferous protests against the Una attack on Dalits as well as the derogatory and insultingly abusive words used by UP BJP’s Vice-President Dayashankar Singh against Mayawati at a gathering in Mau. BSP supremo Mayawati led the charge today while Leader of the Opposition in the House, Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad, declared: “Gau raksha honi chahiye, lekin uske naam par bahaana karke Dalit aur Mussalmanon ko target karo, uske khilaf hain hum. (Cow should be protected, but we are against the targeting of Dalits and Muslims in its name.)“

Mayawati referred to the BJP slogan ‘mahilaon ke samman mein, BJP maidan mein’, and averred: “But actually women are thrashed over beef-rumours in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh.”

But what did the BJP Minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, say? “We should rise above politics on such issues, and the welfare of society should be above personal motives.” These were the only words that he could utter.

His response itself exposed the ruling party’s ulterior game: let the members of the cow brigade continue with their nefarious activities, we of the Treasury Benches shall turn a blind eye to all such acts on their part!

July 28 S.C.