News Analysis |
A New Zealand citizen Juan Pablo Lampe has died after being attacked by a stray bull in India. He had worked for Weta Digital in Wellington and was on holiday with his partner Paula when the freak accident took place. His deaths come in the wake of detrimental effects of the Cow Protection campaign launched by the BJP government.
Haylee Read, a close personal friend of Juan and Paula, told Newshub he was struck by a bull in the neck. Paula, a nurse, noted that the injury was serious and rushed him to a clinic nearby, he was then taken to hospital where he passed away. The 29-year-old had moved to New Zealand from Argentina in 2009, worked as a Senior Compositor at Weta Digital and was an active member of the Latin community.
The rise of “Gau Raksha” or Cow protection in India has led to much hardship among the common man. While many people mainly Muslims have lost their lives at the hands of Gau Rakshaks; state backed armed groups of Hindutva fundamentalists, there is also an increasing gloom over its economic consequences.
The agitation culminated in a massive demonstration outside the Indian Parliament in New Delhi on 7 November 1966. When Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi did not accept the demand for a ban on cow slaughtering.
In 2004 the state government, controlled by the Hindutva fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata party whose hardcore Hindutva support base venerates cows as semi divinity, passed a new law banning all cattle slaughter. The legislation — which also prohibits taking aged cows out of the state for slaughter — was amended in 2012 to extend prison sentences and to shift the burden of proof on to suspects, who are now presumed guilty unless they can prove their innocence.
With the new laws came the Gau Rakshak. Enforced by violent bands of Gau Rakshaks, the prohibition overturned the farm economics revolving around cattle. In essence, it destroyed a thriving market for aged cows or male calves, that was based on procuring meat and hides. This has led to a phenomenon of feral cattle as unwanted animals have simply been abandoned along highways and villages.
These feral cattle often derive their sustenance from neighboring farms often leading to hardships for the already impoverished Indian farmer. Alongside this, the interference in the intricate supply chains that had linked Indian dairy farmers to leather and meat exports has led to extreme economic hardship. Yet despite its economic cost, it is not a concept that the BJP can turn its back on. Gau raksha can be considered to be the main force behind the emergence of Hindutva.
Perhaps the first indication of Hindutva emergence was the altercation over the dispute of cow slaughter. In 1870, the Namdhari Sikhs started the Kukua Revolution, revolting against the British, and seeking to protect the cows from slaughter.
The Mob also attacked the then Congress president Kamaraj’s Delhi residence and set it on fire. Many died in police firing to control the crowd.
A few years later, Swami Dayananda Saraswati called for the cessation of cow slaughter by the British and proposed the formation of Cow Protection Centres. In the 1870s, cow protection movements spread rapidly in Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Oudh (now Awadh) and Rohilkhand. The Arya Samaj played a great part in expertly altering this sentiment into a national movement.
According to experts, the symbol of the cow was masterfully utilized to rouse religious sentiments. It was not long before violence found its way to this movement. The first riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims in Mau in the Azamgarh district and took the government 3 days to regain control.
The violence did not end there spreading to a riot in Bombay involving the working classes, and unrest occurred in places as far away as Rangoon, Burma. An estimated thirty-one to forty-five communal riots broke out over six months and a total of 107 people were killed.
In 1966 the issue of cow slaughter would raise its head again with violent agitation by Hindutva groups. The agitation culminated in a massive demonstration outside the Indian Parliament in New Delhi on 7 November 1966. When Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi did not accept the demand for a ban on cow slaughtering.
A few years later, Swami Dayananda Saraswati called for the cessation of cow slaughter by the British and proposed the formation of Cow Protection Centres.
A mob of 10,000 advocates against cow slaughter, led by Hindu holymen tried to storm the parliament but were repulsed. The mob then rampaged through the capital city. A 48-hour curfew was ordered, all the meetings were banned. The Mob also attacked the then Congress president Kamaraj’s Delhi residence and set it on fire. Many died in police firing to control the crowd.
The phenomenon of Gau Raksha has often manifested to be a violent and divisive concept, with the rise of Modi it has turned itself into one that also increases poverty.