Yesterday, the citizens of Sawlikheda village in Madhya Pradesh, about 60 KMs away from the Khandwa town caught 25 cow smugglers and were tied with a rope and paraded to the nearby police station. They were made to chant “Gau Mata ki Jai” by the villagers.
The police have filed a case against the cow smugglers under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Prevention of Animals Act, and detailed investigation is underway. However, police have also registered a case against the villagers for not intimating the police and taking law in their hands by nabbing the suspected cow smugglers.
21 cows that were being reportedly transported to the neighbouring Maharashtra state for slaughter were rescued and sent to the nearby Gaushala. The police have also confiscated around 7-8 vehicles of the cow smugglers in which were used in the transportation of cattle.
However, some media houses insidiously proceeded to paint the villagers who exhibited daring audacity in confronting and stopping the cow smugglers from transporting the cattle to slaughterhouses as the main assailants in the case. These media houses addressed ‘cattle smugglers’ as “cattle movers”, despite the police claiming that they have arrested 16 persons in the cow smuggling case and about 21 cows rescued.
The Hindu media outlet in its report about the incident saying that the “Cattle movers” were paraded to the police station and made to chant “Gau Mata ki Jai”. The report contains a byte from the police officer who clearly mentions that these cow smugglers had no requisite permission to carry the cattle with them and were thus liable to be charged under relevant sections of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Prevention of Animals Act.
Similarly, India TV too carried news denoting ‘cattle smugglers’ as “cattle movers”.
Both reports in the Hindu and India TV are syndicate feeds from PTI.
By calling them “cattle movers”, media is notoriously victimising the miscreants and attempting to exculpate them from the crime of cow smuggling, for which the villagers tied and paraded them to the police station. A deliberate attempt is being made by these outlets to sweep under the rugs the criminal behaviour of the cow smugglers and somehow paint the villagers or the cow protectors as principle aggressors in this case.
A distinctly similar pattern had emerged in the Pehlu Khan case as well. The charge-sheet filed in the Pehlu Khan case says that Pehlu and his two sons were accused of cow smuggling. However, the media along with the opposition politicians created a fracas over the issue, with many demanding that his name be dropped from the charge-sheet as he was a victim of an onslaught by Gaurakshaks. He and his sons were accused of being cow smugglers. However, his alleged crimes were whitewashed and he was portrayed by a certain section of media and a group of self-declared intellectuals as a man of noble character who was murdered in a cold-blood by Hindutva goons and Gaurakshaks.
Such media shenanigans of calling cow smugglers as cow movers are carried out to render the actual and serious issue of cow smuggling unimportant. By using ‘cattle movers’ instead of ‘cattle smugglers’, these media organisations are implicitly legitimising cattle smuggling which is a criminal activity as per law and belittling their transgressions.