Chandigarh: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke out twice on the weekend against "fake cow protectors", the Punjab Police have registered an FIR or first information report against Satish Kumar, who heads the state unit of a group called the Gau Raksha Dal.
- PM spoke out twice on the weekend against "fake cow protectors"
- The case has been filed against the head of Gau Rakshak Dal in Punjab
- He and two others allegedly beat up truck drivers transporting cows
The case has been filed against Mr Kumar and two associates for allegedly beating up truck drivers transporting cows. The police said they have taken note of videos of the Gau Raksha Dal's activities circulated on social media.
The videos have been on social media for months now, but the police action comes after PM Modi asked states to prepare a dossier of so-called Gau Rakshaks or cow protectors. "70-80% will be those who indulge in anti-social activities and try to hide their sins by pretending to be Gau Rakshaks," he said at a government event in Delhi on Saturday.
On Sunday, PM Modi said in Telangana that "fake cow protectors" were "dividing the nation and should be isolated and punished".
"Be wary of 'nakli' (fake) gau rakshaks, they have nothing to do with cow. Governments should crack down on them," PM Modi said.
In another speech he called for the protection of Dalits, who have been targeted by cow vigilantes, saying, "If you want to shoot anyone, shoot me, not my Dalit brothers."
In Gujarat last month, cow vigilantes stripped and flogged four Dalit men, tannery workers who said they were skinning a dead cow. There have been huge protests by Dalits against the BJP government in Gujarat for failing to protect them and to check the cow vigilantes, amid widespread condemnation in other parts of the country.
In Punjab - ruled by the BJP in partnership with the Akali Dal and where elections will be held early next year - the soap and dairy industries have complained about cow vigilantes. About 30 to 40 soap factories have reportedly closed down because of harassment by groups like the Gau Raksha Dal, which alleges that cow fat is used to make oil-based soaps.
The dairy industry has complained that transporting vows has become stressful as their vehicles are attacked by the self-styled cow protectors.