Saffron brigade divided over PM’s remarks

  • Ranjan, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Aug 08, 2016 11:36 IST
Over the years, the number of incidents in which people were attacked, thrashed or harassed by gau-rakshaks has increased. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT file)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on ‘Gau-rakshaks’ (cow vigilantes) is not out of place, feel many in the ruling party while it has hurt the RSS cadre, and drew sharp reactions from Bajrang Dal.

According to the BJP leaders, what Modi said at the Town Hall meet in Delhi on Saturday reflected the prevailing mood in the party.

The state BJP media in charge Dr Hitesh Bajpai said, “There are a few miscreants who indulge in such excesses but the party gets a bad name because of their act.”

The party and the government have been receiving complaints from across the state for a long time about elements indulging in extortion and violence in the name of VHP and Bajrang Dal, two outfits which have been at the forefront of cow protection movement in the country.

But the government has always been hesitant in taking action against these elements and this has emboldened the ‘anti-social elements’, BJP sources said.

However, several ruling party leaders believe that Modi’s harsh and clear statements would end the confusion in the minds of BJP governments as well law enforcing agencies under them.

Addressing his first Townhall, Modi on Saturday came down hard on self-styled gau rakshaks when he said he gets angry at those running ‘shops’ in the name of cow protection.

“The states should prepare dossiers of such cow protectors...70-80% will be those who indulge in anti-social activities and try to hide their sins by pretending to be cow protectors,” Modi had said.

While VHP acknowledged the presence of such elements, RSS was tightlipped on the PM’s statement.

VHP secretary Anil Goel told HT that whenever they came across persons extorting money in the name of VHP and Bajrang Dal, they have tried to identify and isolate them.

“Gauraksha is not RSS’s subject. I will not like to comments on the same”, said RSS kshetra prachar pramukh Narendra Jain.

However, Sangeet Verma, a senior RSS volunteer in Bhopal, expressed hurt at Modi’s statement. “Unfortunately, what Modiji has said seems to have generalized the phenomenon. His statements should have been quite different on such a sensitive issue… cadre like us feel hurt,” he said.

Bajrang Dal state convener Devisingh Sondhiya was more scathing in his reaction, saying, “Bajrang Dal has been protecting cows for the past 25 years and will continue to do so irrespective of whatever politicians say. A true Bajrang Dal worker can never indulge in extortion and we never take law in our hands. But if Modiji talks of those who take law in their hands, he should also have said that no butcher will be allowed to kill cow in the country.”

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too had extended his support to Modi through a tweet which said, “PM @narendramodi rightly said in his Town Hall Interaction (that) a few people are indulging in anti-social activities under garb of Gau Rakshaks.”

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