Rise of vigilantism

April 15, 2017 12:16 am | Updated 12:16 am IST

The death of a man at the hands of “cow vigilantes” in Rajasthan’s Alwar district is not an isolated event (Editorial – “Barbarism unlimited”, April 7). It is the result of continuous hate propaganda that is being propagated across the country. It is also an attempt to isolate a particular community in order to serve the vested interests of a few. There is an attempt to turn people into a mindless and faceless mob. What is the meaning of all the talk about development and economic growth when we cannot ensure the security and safety of a citizen? We must rein in the temptation to label all these as sporadic incidents. Today it is about Muslims. Tomorrow it could be about Dalits, Christians or for that matter, anyone with a different point of view. There is an attempt to inject this poisonous venom of hatred in all of us. It is not a fight for any community but about the fight to save the idea of India.

Gaurav Vats, Patna

The mob violence across northern India has unveiled the Janus face of the ruling party at the Centre. The recent thumping victories of the BJP in the State elections might have emboldened these cow vigilantes. Illegal cow transportation should not end in the lynching of a person when the laws of the land could have taken care of such offenders. Social disharmony will always leave a blot on any ruling party obfuscating its other accomplishments. Meat vigilantism and food laws should not be the concerns of the BJP.

R. Krishnamachary,Chennai

High levels of tolerance towards the religious beliefs and traditions of minority communities form the crux of the highly-vaunted secular credentials of our country. Considering the nation’s unity in diversity, it is this secularism that has kept the nation intact in spite of communal tensions that have prevailed in the country, beginning with the sordid tales of Partition. Yet, somehow it has always been this uneasy calm that has greeted relations between various religious communities which utilised by politicians to further their selfish causes.

They have managed to instil a fair amount of distrust in our minds with respect to the practice of their faith in this country. This in turn has led to what one could call a ‘communal imbalance’ in India, with the ‘majority’ demanding that the minority communities subscribe to their way of thinking. So much so that even food habits are now to be defined by the majority. Tomorrow there may be even be a cry for uniformity in the lifestyles of various communities, albeit with the majority formulating a plan to bring about radical changes in the traditions and ways of the minorities. Such a plan cannot be envisaged without the political will that is so conspicuously absent when it comes to pursuing agendas that have more social relevance. The cry for a nationwide ban on cow slaughter and the ‘revival’ of the Ayodhya issue further accentuates the fact that far from pursuing meaningful socio-economic agendas, playing the religious card will help political parties cling on to power in the coming years.

Pachu Menon, Comba, Margao, Goa

The activities of self-proclaimed cow vigilantes are disturbing the social order. The majority of the people involved in the trade related to cattle are Dalits and Muslims. Vigilantes are using the pretext of protecting cows to attack Dalits and Muslims and their actions are hurting livelihoods and the economy. These acts are growing so fast that it is becoming difficult to control their actions. It is time their activities are curbed before it leads to complete chaos.

Kamil S.V., Andrott, Lakshadweep

With the rise in the BJP’s electoral success, self-styled, hard line groups are leaving no stone unturned in resorting to hooliganism and attempting to change the way religious minorities lead their lives. Despite India’s status as a pluralistic, secular democracy, crimes against and harassment of religious minorities is becoming common.

The arrests being made also raise many legal questions. For instance, some people have been arrested and charged under the Cattle Preservation Act of Assam, 1950. None of the sections in the Act criminalises the possession or consumption of beef. The fact that cow politics is beginning to rear its head in a secular and State such as Assam is a serious matter. The beef trade is open in Assam and should not result in the harassment of people. The government must make every effort to balance majority sentiments with minority needs.

Shajid Khan, Tangla, Assam

The Modi government may be scam-free, but is not scar-free. Each passing day brings fresh bouts of high-handedness by fringe elements, moral policing brigades, cow vigilantes and even public servants stooping to new lows in conduct. The Prime Minister, who wastes no time in taking on his detractors and opponents, has been clearly found wanting in expressing his candid views on such sensitive issues. His stoic silence is almost similar to his predecessor’s response when scam after scam perpetrated by his ministerial colleagues began unfolding. While development and growth are no doubt essential, it cannot be at the cost of turning a blind eye to social progress and where it is of paramount importance to rein in the unruly, be they party cadres, people’s representatives or self-styled groups.

Economic progress has meaning only when it is achieved through maintaining absolute peace in society. For all the tall claims of improvement in all economic spheres, the common man sees no tangible and perceptible change in his lot.

Sivamani Vasudevan, Chennai

That cow vigilantes are on the prowl and often behave as law unto themselves especially in the BJP-ruled States is a matter of grave concern. Impunity with which violence is being unleashed against those who are a part of the meat trade by self-styled protectors of bovines deserves unequivocal condemnation from every conscientious citizen of this country. It is quite appalling to note that rather than taking concrete steps towards the implementation of the law on cow protection through law enforcement authorities, the rulers of BJP-ruled States are letting cow vigilantes to be the law enforcers. The very act of condoning the violence of cow vigilantes by BJP leaders will only embolden them to persist with their sinister agenda of fomenting trouble and violence in the country. We are a democratic nation being governed by the rule of law and there exists no place for mob justice. It is time BJP-ruled States sent a stern message to cow vigilantes that they will not be allowed to have a free run with their mindless violence.

M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

The fact that barbaric acts are being perpetrated in the name of cow protection in BJP-ruled states, with many of the victims of these heinous crimes being Muslims and Dalits, the most marginalised of Indians, are ominous. That these are happening many a time as a result of “mere suspicion” makes it worse. It might push members of such communities to desperation and compel to resort to extreme countermeasures. The purchase and transportion of animals, including cows, has to continue as it is a source of livelihood for many, most of whom happen to be Muslims. Cow vigilantes must not be allowed to take matters into their hands.

Peter Mundackal,New Delhi

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