This Article is From Oct 11, 2016

Genuine Gau Rakshaks Fulfil Important Role, Says RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

Mohan Bhagwat spoke about Gau Rakshaks or cow protectors at RSS foundation day event. (PTI)


  • Cow protectors play important role in implementing law: RSS chief
  • They are different from self-appointed cow protectors: RSS chief
  • PM Modi had lashed out at violent attacks by self-declared vigilantes
Nagpur: "Cow protectors perform an important role and it's important to distinguish between those who protect the cow and others who are self-appointed," said Mohan Bhagwat, who heads the ruling BJP's ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS.

Mr Bhagwat said the cow, which is revered by Hindus, is to be protected by law, and gau rakshaks or cow protectors who operate within the law perform an important service.

Attacks, often filmed, on men accused of cow slaughter drove Prime Minister Narenda Modi to declare in August, "I feel so angry at times. Some people who are engaged in anti-social activities wear the mask of gau rakshaks."

Critics of the BJP and RSS say self-declared gau rakshaks or squads of cow protectors, have been inflaming tensions between religions and castes in parts of the country including Gujarat, where, in July, four young Dalit men were stripped and tied to a vehicle before being thrashed by men who accused them of killing a cow. They were, in fact, skinning the cow, a demanding and poorly-paid task assigned to the lowest castes.

Cow slaughter is illegal in most of India, but had been tolerated under the Congress party, which claims to protect the rights of Muslims and lower castes who work in the meat and leather trade.

As vigilante groups gain prominence, critics and political opponents allege that PM Modi, while saying he's concerned, has been either unwilling or unable to halt their more extreme actions.

Some self-appointed vigilante squads count hundreds as member, cultivate informants, ambush trucks at night and metes out extra-judicial violence. The PM had warned this would not be tolerated and the centre has ordered state governments to ensure they act against these groups.