Mainstream Weekly

Home > 2023 > Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Feb 25 & Mar 4, 2023

Mainstream, VOL 61 No 9 - 10, February 25 & March 4, 2023

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Feb 25 & Mar 4, 2023

Saturday 25 February 2023


Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Feb 25 & March 4, 2023

Cow Protection Vigilante Groups Undermine Constitutional Governance in Haryana

The BJP government in the state of Haryana which is ideologically committed to promoting a Hindutva agenda brought in a Cow Protection Act in 2015 to counter cow slaughter and curb cow smuggling. The state later went on to establish a Special Cow Protection Task Force in each district; This scheme became an entry point for far-right religiopolitical outfits like Bajrang Dal among others to run private militias to control the streets and engage in mob justice in full knowledge and with the cooperation of the police authorities [1], [2]. There have already been a string of hate crimes and mob lynchings all under the guise of Cow protection in the state which have triggered social tensions in the past years. The latest such crime happened on February 16, when the charred bodies of two men from the adjacent Rajasthan state were found in the Bhiwani district of Haryana. The first investigation report by the Rajasthan police points at the involvement of ‘cow vigilantes groups’ from Haryana; all the accused men named in the complaint are linked to far-right groups. Several of the people named in the police complaint are said to be Haryana police informers [3]. Journalists have also traced a vehicle that had been used in the abductions by a ‘Cow protection militia’ as registered in the name of the Haryana Police. One of the accused has been arrested but others are on the run. Two Hindu ‘Mahapanchayats’ (Traditional rural religion-and-caste-based mass gatherings called by local village notables) have been held recently in support of the accused, where threats have been issued openly saying that if Rajasthan Police came there to arrest the accused, they wouldn’t be allowed to return. Kidnappings and violence against citizens by the Cow protection mafia are bad enough but if the threats against Rajasthan police hold without any action by the state, then clearly the writ of the constitution does not run in parts of Haryana state. Today they threaten the Rajasthan Police tomorrow it could be against the local police and other entities inside Haryana. This has serious implications for public safety. The state of Haryana territorially overlaps with the sensitive National Capital Region. The city of Gurugram right next to the national capital is a hub of automobile manufacturing, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), etc; subsidiaries of prominent International firms, not to speak of major Indian companies have a presence there. The authorities should be concerned about the developing atmosphere of communal targeting of minorities in the state and the risks they pose to industrial and business activity and to the protection of citizens’ safety. Rule of law must prevail to protect the economy and society. Cow Protection Vigilante Groups with political protection are turning into parallel centers of authority and clearly undermining constitutional governance in Haryana, must be reigned in. We would do well to remember the price paid by society, in neighbouring Pakistan where private militias in the name of religion and culture initially cultivated by state agencies have boomeranged on public safety. Act before it is too late.

February 25, 2023 — HK

ISSN (Mainstream Online) : 2582-7316 | Privacy Policy|
Notice: Mainstream Weekly appears online only.