Sangh to observe ‘martyrdom’ at cow memorial
RSS, VHP and BJP leaders will attend the event in memory of Katarpur villagers who died protesting cow slaughter 100 years ago.Updated: Feb 04, 2018 21:40 IST
Many RSS, VHP and BJP leaders will gather at Katarpur village in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district from Monday to observe ‘martyrdom’ of local people who laid down lives protesting cow slaughter 100 years ago, a move seen as an attempt to consolidate Hindu votes ahead of Lok Sabha polls due next year.
A memorial for cow protectors -- ‘Gaurakshak Shaheed Samarak’ -- was set up in Katarpur a few months back in memory of Mahant Brahamdas, Mukka Singh Chauhan, Pooran Prasad and Chaudhari Janki Das who were hanged by the British government on February 8, 1920. Besides, 138 villagers were sent to imprisonment at Andaman and Nicobar.
“As Katarpur is to be developed as a cow pilgrimage centre, the four-day-long tribute function from February 5 to 8 will be a major step in this direction. Uttarakhand’s chief minister, local MP, BJP legislators, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders have given their consent to participate in the programme,” Gaurakshak Shaheed Samarak convener Shyam Singh Chauhan said on Sunday.
“On February 8, British court had sentenced cow protectors who opposed slaughtering of cows in Katarpur by Muslim community on the insistence of British officials. The martyrs showed that ‘gaumata’ (cow) is as important as ‘Ganga ma’ and ‘Bharat ma’ (motherland),” Chauhan said.
History suggests that in a bid to divide the two communities, the British government permitted some Muslims to slaughter cows on Bakr-Eid on September 18, 1918. Two cows were tied at the site where the memorial has been put up now, with British police giving protection to slaughters.
The incident sparked tensions between both the communities; police opened fire on the protesters, triggering a riot-like situation.
“After this incident, both Hindus and Muslims left the village and a police post was set up just opposite the spot of violence, where now the cow memorial exists,” said village head Nootan Kumar.
“Around 1955, a philanthropist, Meetha Ram Bali, came to Haridwar from Punjab; when he came to know about the incident, he visited Katarpur village,” Kumar said.
“He (Bali) motivated local villagers to return to their ancestral homes and also donated funds to set up a cow memorial as a befitting tribute to those who gave up their lives in the name of mother cow.”
After coming to power in March last year, the BJP government announced that it would promote the village on the national map.
State minister Dhan Singh Rawat visited the village in November last year and reiterated the promise to develop a huge cow memorial in the village.
Chauhan said, “Villagers are ready to donate 50 bighas of land for the memorial.”