Vinay, a milk vendor in a Muslim-majority locality of central Mumbai, dreams of a day when cows will no longer be slaughtered. Under the Narendra Modi regime, he feels his wish will be realised. A ground-level worker of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Vinay is gearing up to be part of the outfit’s programme to check cow slaughter during Bakrid in October.
In the days leading up to the festival, the VHP is setting up chowkis (booths) and deploying “flying squads” to check the transportation of cows. Though not a new practice, the campaign this year will be intensified, the outfit says. “Mr. Modi is the Prime Minister, we feel stronger,” Vinay says.
The VHP, during its golden jubilee meeting here last month, set clear goals of expansion and growth, with focus on accelerating its “seva projects” that include cow protection and curbing of religious conversions, including through the so-called “love jihad.”
The new-found confidence stems from Mr. Modi’s assumption of power, says Venkatesh Apdeo, central committee member, VHP. “The Administration would hinder our activities earlier, but not any longer. We get cooperation from the Administration across the country; there is definitely a soft corner.” “Modi is Hindutva rakshak (saviour), the Congress was Hindutva virodhi (enemy),” he adds.
Under the slogan Hindu hum sab ek [All Hindus are one], the VHP plans to increase its reach among the lower castes. The outfit has extensive plans to curb conversions and facilitate the “return of converted Hindus [ ghar vapasi ].” VHP leader Pravin Togadia recently said the outfit reconverted seven lakh people in the past 50 years. “Why not seven crores in the future,” asks Mr. Apdeo.