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1966 Hindu massacre in Delhi: When Indira Gandhi government killed hundreds of Sadhus and Gau rakshaks

While the official report said that 375 Hindus were killed in the firing, according to a person who participated in the agitation about 5000 Hindus were brutally massacred in the bullet spray at the behest of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

On November 7, 1966, bullets were fired, tear gas shells were thrown and batons and rods wielded on thousands of saints and Gau-bhakt Hindus outside the Sansad Bhavan (Parliament), who were demanding a law to ban cow slaughter. While the official report said that 375 Hindus were killed in the firing, according to a person who participated in the agitation about 5000 Hindus were brutally massacred in the bullet spray at the behest of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Cow and Hindu Dharma

For a Hindu, the cow is not a mere animal but considered as the adobe of 33 crore Hindu Deities and hence the bovine is the seat of faith in Hindu society. The belief is that one can attain salvation (Moksha) by worshipping and serving the cow. The animal is considered so sacred that the first Jain Tirthankar, Adinath was also named as Vrashbh meaning ‘Oxen Sorub’. Of all beings, bovines are treated, in Hindutva, as the most sacred and sanctified. This sense of the unique sacredness is expressed in the works of ancient Indian Rishis like in the Vedas, Smritis, Srutis and Puranas, etc., as well as in later literature and folklore.

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This is the reason that cow protection from ancient times has been one of the most important aspects of Hindutva or Hinduism. History has it that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha empire, had, at a very young age cut-off the hands of a Muslim butcher when he saw the butcher dragging a bovine to kill her. The same legacy to protect Vedic Hindu culture was passed on in his son Sambhaji Raje, who executed a Muslim for killing a cow in 1683. Moreover, the Directive Principles of State Policy, Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution, also talks about the promotion and protection of cows.

How liberals use cow jokes to mock Hinduism

Despite all this, the anti-slaughter Hindu devotees and the cow protectors are looked down upon in India. This is the reason probably why an outsider like Furkan Khan could get away after uncouth remark on cow urine to mock Hinduism, and people like IPS officer Aslam Khan walk around freely after making the ‘cow urine’ jibe to mock Hinduism.

This callowness is nothing new. For the ‘liberal’ cabal, cow jokes have been the most uncomplicated way to deal a Hindu at the time of distress. Whenever they seem to be losing an argument with a Hindu, they quickly take recourse in either the ‘cow urine’ jibe, or cliche words like ‘gau bhakt’, ‘gau mutra’ or ‘cow protector’. This is, however, not a point of issue of recent times. This has, in fact, been a perennial problem of independent India.

1966 Hindu Massacre

53 years ago, in 1966, Hindu organizations agitated to demand a ban on the slaughter of cows in India, as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Among others, the Shankaracharya fasted for the cause. The agitation culminated in a massive demonstration outside Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi on 7 November 1966. As per Hindu Panchang, that day was Kartik Shukla Ashtami of Vikram Samvat, known as Gopashtami among Hindus.

The Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi did not accept the demand for a ban on cow slaughtering. A mass of 10,000 advocates against cow slaughter, led by Hindu Sadhus and thousands of anti-slaughter Hindu devotees tried to storm the parliament but were prevented. Around 3 to 7 lakh sadhus and saints were attacked by the Delhi police who sprayed bullets, released tear gas shells and charged at them with rods and batons, at the behest of Indira Gandhi. According to official figures, 250 sadhus were killed on the streets of Delhi on that day, but according to non-official claims, at least 5000 saints were murdered.

It is believed that after the incident, the dead Hindus were ruthlessly loaded in trucks and transported in the dark of night to the ridge area outside Delhi. Without even checking that some of them may be alive, they were burnt.

The Shankracharya Niranjandev Tirth, Swami Hariharananda Ji, widely known as Karpatriji Maharaj and Mahatma Ramchandra Veer went to observing fast unto death for the brutal killing of sadhus and Gau-bhakt devotees in Delhi. Mahatma Ramchandra Veer observed 166 days long fast at that time. The next Home Minister (from 14 November 1966 to 27 June 1970) and a puppet of Indira Gandhi, Yashwantrao Balwantrao Chavan went to the fasting saints and promised to bring the ‘anti-slaughter bill’ in the next session of parliament and the saints ended their fasting. But, the anti-Hindu Congress government never kept their promise.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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