It is very painful that he has said that those who protect cows are anti-social elements

Pained by PMs statement on gau-rakshaks Karnataka Bajrang Dal chief
news Cow Vigilantism Monday, August 08, 2016 - 18:38

Karnataka’s Bajrang Dal chief Sharan Pumpwell has said that some of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks about gau-rakshaks have “pained” the organization’s cadres.

Sharan told The News Minute, “It is very painful that he has said that those who protect cows are anti-social elements. These remarks will be bolster those who kill cows.”

He has, in the past, often asserted that the Bajrang Dal would continue to carry out “cow protection” activities.

He took particular objection to the term “anti-social” to describe those who indulge in cow vigilantism. “We don’t do work that divides society. We don’t break the law. The law says that cows are not to be killed.”

Asked about the number of cases including assault and murder in which Bajrang Dal cadre were implicated, he said: “When you see it happening in front of your eyes, you cannot ignore it. We don’t assault. It is not possible to not do anything when it is happening in front of your eyes. All this would not happen if the police, district administration and the government did its job. Let the Prime Minister pass a law to prevent cow slaughter.”

Already several states have laws prohibiting cow slaughter to various degrees, while a handful including several north-eastern states and neighbouring Kerala have no restrictions.

The Bajrang Dal was started in 1984. Units in Hampi and Mangaluru were among the first to be started in Karnataka in 1992.

Since its inception in Dakshina Kannada district, the majority of the Bajrang Dal cadre have always been drawn from the Billava (toddy-tapping community), Mogaveera (fishing community) and other backward castes, considered to be among the Shudra castes in the theoretical caste hierarchy. Sharan himself belongs to the Kottary community, a socially and economically backward community.

Sharan said: “We protect cows. We don’t care whether they call us goondas, criminals or anything else. We oppose one, and only one statement that the Prime Minister made. He should not have said we protect cows by day and carry out anti-social activities by night.”

Addressing a Town Hall event in Delhi on Sunday, Modi had said: “I feel really angry at the way some people have opened shops in the name of cow protection. I have seen that some people commit anti-social activities through the night, but act as cow protectors by day.”

Sharan said: “We oppose it if that was for us (Bajrang Dal), but if it was directed at others, we don’t know.” 

(This article said that Sharan belongs to the Billava community. It has been corrected.)

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