BJP accused of saffronising cow ‘martyrdom’ centenary in Uttarakhand
A function to commemorate cow protectors, who were killed a 100 years ago at Katarpur village in Haridwar district, was dominated by BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders.dehradun Updated: Feb 08, 2018 21:23 IST
A function to commemorate cow protectors, who were killed a 100 years ago at Katarpur village in Haridwar district, was dominated by BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders.
The four-day event, which concluded at the village in Pathri area on Thursday, was deemed to be a programe of Goteerth Vikas Samiti to promote cow tourism. No leaders of the Congress or other parties were invited to the cow memorial centenary function, prompting the opposition to call it a saffronisation of the event.
Some people of the village were hanged by the British government in 1920 for protesting cow slaughter in 1918. A memorial for cow protectors was set up at Katarpur village a few months back.
At the function, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat praised the RSS. Inaugurating the RSS’ district office, he said, “Without the RSS, India can’t tread the development path and its ideology needs to be followed by all and sundry.”
Muslims in the village distanced themselves from the centenary function. More than a dozen Muslim families live near the memorial where cows were tied to be slaughtered by Muslims under a British officer’s directives on February 8, 1918. The incident had triggered communal clashes.
“Both Muslims and Hindus have been living peacefully in the village. There are now fears that politicisation of the cow memorial may again create divisions between the two communities,” said Mohammed Hanif, a 70-year-old villager.
“A majority of Muslim families living in the village are engaged in dairy farming, so indirectly they too are doing service to cows but it’s being portrayed that the minority community in the village are anti-cow,” a Muslim youth said on condition of anonymity, fearing threats from cow vigilantes.
“CM TS Rawat honoured members of cow martyrs’ families, but not a word was spoken on Muslims too who died in the clash (in 1918),” the youth said.
A Gaurakshak Smarak Samiti office-bearer said the centenary function was open to all. “We can’t force any one to come as it’s a public function -- not only of the village but for every cow-loving citizen of the country,” he said.
Ambrish Kumar, a former Congress legislator, said, “BJP-RSS tried all means to hijack the centenary function and create communal division so as to utilise it ahead of municipal elections and parliamentary polls due next year.”
Villagers felt let down as the CM didn’t announce the setting up of a cow research institute as was claimed by local BJP leaders