Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statements castigating cow vigilantism and attacks on Dalits may have won over some, but RSS workers have taken exception to them.
Modi’s speeches over the weekend were hailed as stern messages to fringe elements of the RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor, which are accused of aggressively enforcing a ban on cattle slaughter and beef trade in several states.
The RSS brass too issued statements, which appeared to second Modi’s concern over anti-social elements masquerading as gau rakshaks or cow protectors, and atrocities on Dalits.
But sources in the Sangh assert the mood is far from conciliatory.
“The cadre feels the government should have dealt with both issues as a law-and-order problem, which is what it is. The PM’s words have alienated karkyakartas (workers) who devote time and resources to protect cows,” a source told Hindustan Times.
The RSS cadre is unhappy at being labeled “anti-social”, and perceives the statements as an effort to undermine the work they do for cow protection and spearheading social harmony.
The issue is expected to come up for discussion at a meeting of the RSS prant pracharaks on Tuesday morning in the Capital.
A message circulating on social media, to an extent, hints at the simmering anger at Modi’s speech for it demands an apology.
“Abhi Samay Hai, Maafi Mango, Waqt Nahi Barbad Karo…. Ganga KI jaldhara Budhi Ka Kachra Saaf Kardeti Hai, Gaiya Ma Hai, Bacchon Ki Har Galti Maaf Kar Deti Hai (There is still time, say sorry, don’t waste time. A trickle of water from the Ganga cleanses the mind; cow is a mother and forgives all mistakes).”
The RSS’ general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi on Sunday attempted to distance the Sangh from the vigilantes, urging people to expose anti-social elements spreading violence and trying to disturb social harmony in the name of cow protection.
The Sangh leader underlined the need to view the incidents as the handiwork of some political parties and communal groups to create friction between upper caste Hindus and Dalits.
“The Sangh does not need lessons in protecting Dalits … The Sangh has always fought for the consolidation of Hindus, and any step that creates a wedge between Dalits and upper castes will not bode well for the BJP in upcoming state assembly polls,” a source explained.