Former Uttar Pradesh minister and senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has returned a pair of cows and a calf that were presented to him by a prominent Hindu seer in protest against the lynching of a Muslim man by alleged cow vigilantes in Rajasthan’s Alwar last week.
In a letter to Adhokshanand Maharaj of Goverdhan mutt, the former minister expressed his helplessness in keeping the gift under “prevailing atmosphere”, saying any vigilante could kill the animal to “defame” him.
“If some unpleasant incident occurs then enemies of Muslims and humanity would get a reason for massacring innocent people, as they are always looking to make the journey of 2019 (election) easier,” the SP leader wrote, in an apparent reference to the BJP.
“It is a matter of life and death for many weak persons like me who after the Alwar incident have been asking themselves- how to live and where to go?”
Khan was urban development minister in the Samajwadi Party (SP) government and was also in charge of arrangements for Kumbh in Allahabad. Pleased with the Kumbh arrangements, Adhokshanand had given the animals to Khan one-and-a-half years ago. The pair was kept in a buffalo shed in Rampur owned by the minister, and caretakers were directed to take special care of the cows.
“If some unpleasant incident occurs then enemies of Muslims and humanity would get a reason for massacring innocent people, as they are always looking to make the journey of 2019 (election) easier,” the SP leader wrote, in an apparent reference to the BJP.”
Khan said he was returning the gift after seeking Swami ji’s permission though ‘his gesture of harmony would always remain in my heart’.
“Muslims were living in an atmosphere of insecurity... Any cow vigilante might harm or even kill the beautiful and beneficial animal to defame me and the Muslim community,” the minister wrote.
Last week, Pehlu Khan was killed and four others injured when a gang of alleged cow protection vigilantes attacked them while they were transporting a batch of cattle in Alwar. The incident triggered widespread condemnation and represented the latest episode in a growing string of violence related to the cow, considered holy by many Hindus.