Home Opinions Modi vs Gau Rakshaks – decoding PM’s attack on cow vigilante groups

Modi vs Gau Rakshaks – decoding PM’s attack on cow vigilante groups

Towards the end of a ‘town hall’ organized by MyGov, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an unexpected headline to the media: he launched an attack on those calling themselves ‘gau rakshaks’ i.e. cow protectors.

The statement by Modi was not in response to any direct question posed by any participant of the town hall. Thus it can be argued that he considered it important to convey this message.

There is a context to it: Of late, there have been many reports in the media, especially after the Una incident in Gujarat, where cow vigilante groups have taken law into their own hands and indulged in violence under garb of cow protection. On most occasions, the victims of violence in these cases were dalits.

- Ad - - article resumes -

In fact, it all started with the beef ban debate in March last year when an almost 20 years old law passed by Maharashtra assembly banning cattle slaughter and sale of beef became talking point again. The so-called liberals made it appear as if ban on cow slaughter and beef consumption was something introduced in India by Narendra Modi, even though it has been a part of Directive Principles of the constitution.

The beef debate reached its climax with the Dadri lynching incident in Uttar Pradesh in September last year, where a man named Akhlaq was killed on suspicion of killing a cow and consuming beef. Many commentators in media questioned Narendra Modi’s silence on the issue, but Modi never issued a direct statement about it.

The closest Modi came to talking about the Dadri incident was during an election rally before Bihar assembly elections when he asked Hindus and Muslims not to fight on petty issues. But he didn’t say anything about beef or cow protection. In fact, before the last leg of Bihar elections, BJP issued ads that talked about cow protection.

Apart from Dadri incident, another incident that hogged limelight was one where two suspected cattle smugglers were killed and hanged from a tree in Jharkhand in March this year. The media chose to focus on religion of the victims, who happened to be Muslims, and made it about beef even though it was about cattle smuggling. Modi didn’t speak up about cow vigilantism after this as well.

A couple of months back media highlighted yet another report where two suspected cow smugglers – again Muslims – were beaten up and reportedly made to eat cow dung by “gau-rakshaks”. This was the first major story that involved gau-rakshaks as earlier ones were mostly about some village groups not necessarily belonging to any political or social organization. This incident was filmed and triggered a series of many videos showing cow vigilante groups indulging in violence. Again, Modi didn’t speak after it.

But Modi has spoken now.

Has he surrendered to the media narrative and reacted to an agenda set by the “liberals” by doing so?

Some on the “right” appear to think so.

It’s a clear climb down; however, it will be quite naive to think that Modi has surrendered only due to the media pressure. Media has been cooking the beef story for around 2 years now claiming “minorities” under siege. What is noteworthy is that Modi chose to break his silence only after “dalits” entered the scene, that too in his home state Gujarat i.e. after the Una incident last month.

There was nothing special in media coverage of Una, which could be argued to be missing in Akhlaq or other stories. What was special this time was large group of people – dalits – coming out in streets to protest against the incident. And unlike a rowdy group damaging properties, some of these dalits used “suicide” as a mode of protest. Unfortunately one person who committed suicide to protest died earlier this week.

Modi surrendered to that pressure.

It should be noted that the attempt to hyphenate Muslims and Dalits over beef issue has been on agenda since March 2015 itself. When the ‘beef ban’ chatter of Maharashtra started, the Adarsh Liberals tried to claim it was anti-dalit as well, but that chatter was limited to their inner circles only in their board rooms and editorial spaces. The Una incident took the chatter to streets, and the agenda threatened to materialize.

Modi surrendered to that threat.

It’s clear that Modi sees dalits as his potential voters, and that he needs to reach out to them. He was not trying to score brownie points with media or Adarsh Liberals by branding majority of gau-rakshaks criminals, but he was sending a signal to the dalits – that someone appearing to represent me can’t damage your dignity and security.

The section on the “right” angry over Modi sees his statement as surrender to the “liberal” agenda. From that point of view, Modi appears erring by issuing a statement itself, and thus responding to an agenda. Not only that, he errs by not raising the issue about cow slaughter, cattle smuggling (it can destroy a rural family for whom cattle could be the only asset), and Hindu sentiments for cows while condemning gau-rakshaks.

But for Modi, he was not reacting to any liberal agenda, he was communicating to dalits.

Whether he has been successful in communicating, we will know after the elections in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

Help Opindia Reach Every Indian. Share This Post
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.

Big Story

As Barkha had predicted, the Sibals also blamed the newly-elected Narendra Modi government for the advertisers to back off. Lack of advertising revenues led to deepening of their financial troubles, they claim. 

2019 World Cup Is Here!

Catch the latest on Cricket World Cup as it unfolds, special coverage by Opindia

Proud to be a brand - Made in India?
Now, Advertise on Opindia

Abusive actor Ajaz Khan arrested by Mumbai Police for instigating violence through social media

Mumbai Police arrests small-time actor Ajaz Khan after he mocked the police on TikTok

Mangalore: Mohammad Ansari rapes a cow by tying its limbs, villagers catch him in the act, arrested

The villagers also made Ansari touch cow’s feet and ask for forgiveness for raping her. However, when Ansari approached the calf, the animal freaked out and started running.

Interview: Former RAW officer makes further shocking revelations about Hamid Ansari after alleging that he endangered lives of RAW officers in Iran

In this exclusive interview, Former RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer NK Sood makes further revelations about his time in Iran, Hamid Ansari and the vilified scientist Nambi Narayanan

Kapil Sibal claims Barkha Dutt was sacked before her tweets, won’t be paid anymore, Barkha says Sibal is lying

As Barkha had predicted, the Sibals also blamed the newly-elected Narendra Modi government for the advertisers to back off. Lack of advertising revenues led to deepening of their financial troubles, they claim. 

Live updates Karnataka Trust Vote: Congress-JDS MLAs shout ‘Operation Kamala Dhikkara Dhikkara’, storm well of the House

JDS-Congress government of Karnataka is facing their second floor test after assembly elections were held in May last year.

Revisiting Sainbari, a blot on Indian Democracy: When Communists made a mother eat rice with her dead sons’ blood

The Sainbari incident remains the most horrific instance of political violence in the country.
Image Source: Newstate

Campaign to raise funds for Richa Bharti, who was ordered to distribute Quran by Ranchi court, surpasses target within hours

A 19-year old college student, Richa Bharti was ordered to distribute 5 copies of Quran as a condition of bail by the Ranchi court
Kapil Sibal backed Tiranga TV senior producer accused of sexual harassment

Tiranga TV in yet another controversy: Girl accuses senior producer of sexual harassment, makes lewd chats public

A girl has accused the senior producer of Kapil Sibal backed Tiranga TV of sexual harassment. Himanshi Gupta took to Twitter to make lewd WhatsApp chats public.
Donald Trump took to Twitter to praise Pakistan for Hafiz Saeed' arrest

Hafiz Saeed was living freely in Pakistan, so hold your applause: US Committee gives Donald Trump a reality check

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee had to remind Donald Trump that Hafiz Saeed did not need any searching or finding so he should rather hold his applause.
Tamil media on dead tiger

Tiger dies after eating a Sambar Deer, Tamil Media reports how it died after consuming ‘Sambhar Rice’

On Sunday evening, a tiger was found dead soon after it had eaten a sambar deer. The carcass was found in the Parsons Valley reservoir in the Nilgiris district.
Subscribe to Day's Top Stories
- Advertisment -

Latest articles

Connect with us

Help Opindia Reach Every Indian. Share This Post