Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the lynching of a Muslim man over rumours of beef consumption in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri as saddening on Wednesday. The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) is going to strengthen the cow protection programme.
The western UP volunteers of the VHP who are under the influence of BJP’s ideological parent RSS have proceeded the meetings over the next two weeks to chalk out strategy for a crackdown on cow slaughter and abattoirs.
Western UP has been a communal tipping point in recent times the gau-rakhsa rhetoric is being heard across villages and towns.
Meghpal, VHP’s go-to man in Shamli, said, “Whoever slaughters cows will not be tolerated. We don’t care what the PM or his government says.”
“The administration has plans to allow a slaughter house in Kandhla. Our 5,000 active members would also discuss strategy to stop it,” he added.
Shamli faced communal violence in recent years as well . When the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre, there has been a spurt in crackdown on cow slaughter and beef sale, kicking up a political storm, as the industry employs thousands of people, who are mainly Muslims.
The number of cases filed in UP, especially in the western pockets, under the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.
In 2011 and 2012- 6,000 cases have been registered. In 2013 and 2014, 9,500 and in the first six months of 2015, more than 2,000 cases were lodged under the Act. Gautam Budh Nagar, where Dadri lies, saw 8 cases in 2011 and 2012, and 21 in 2013 and 2014. In the first six months of 2015, 9 cases have been registered.
The local VHP unit is going to hold a meeting of its 3,000-odd volunteers on October 26.
The outfit’s senior functionary, who everyone refers to as Ajay-ji, said,
“Every second day trucks full of cows are caught here. A large number of slaughter houses are operating, mostly in Gangoh. It’s not just a matter of cows. On Wednesday, a girl from our community was molested.” Sahdev Singh, VHP’s Baghpat head, says 250 teams with 5,000 members had been told to step up cow protection.
“The Samajwadi Party government in UP is only doing vote-bank politics,” he said.
Tension prevailed in Baghpat in July when a group of men lynched a 50-year-old Muslim man and in January when VHP rushed to the “rescue” of Dalits converting to Islam.
Pointing on an award-returning spree of writers Ajay-ji added. “Nobody returned their awards when Muzaffarnagar riots happened in 2013 or when a train was burnt in Godhra in 2002. Ye ghatia mansikta hai.”
“More Dadri-like incidents will happen if cows continue to be slaughtered. 25,000 of our members in Meerut have turned over more than 1,000 cow killers to the police in recent years. There have been 25 tip offs in just one month.”
“It’s not just the VHP. Many other right-wing organisations are running similar campaigns across western UP. We would not allow any event, which may result in communal tension, to take place,” said a senior police officer in Meerut.
Former BSP minister Haji Yaqub Qureishi, a wealthy meat exporter in Meerut, says VHP is nothing but a pack of goons.