Over the last couple of years the country has witnessed the rise of cow vigilante groups, where people have not hesitated to lynch, to assault, to kill those it suspects of having slaughtered a cow. Many of these attacks were on Muslims. The vigilante groups were emboldened perhaps by the political patronage of the Sanghs. Now, the attacks on Dalits in Gujarat has changed the story completely. Because Dalits are a big vote bank for all the parties involved, the protests in Gujarat are a major political headache for the BJP ahead of the UP polls. The row over a senior BJP leader's derogatory comments on Mayawati has made it worse.