Lucknow, Jan 10: In 2017, India got a clear-cut idea how cow vigilantism, carried out by gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes), could prove fatal to the nation's peace and diversity.
While gau rakshaks possessed by mad love for cow (considered holy in the Hindu religion) did not even shy away from killing people in the name of animal protection, the country's minority communities like the Muslims and Dalits (mostly engaged in cattle-related trade) started living their lives under the shadow of fear.
It seems 2018 is not going to be any different, as the first high-profile case related to cow vigilantism came to light from Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, within the first 10 days of the new year.
According to reports, two men were beaten up by a mob in Ballia, UP for alleged cattle stealing. The "animal lovers" did not stop at that. The mob also partially tonsured the heads of the two alleged cow thieves as a punishment.
Later, the duo was seen walking on the streets of Ballia holding placards saying "gai chor" (cow thieves).
"Two people were beaten up, their heads partially tonsured and paraded on allegations of stealing cattle in Ballia," tweeted ANI.
Two people were beaten up,their heads partially tonsured and paraded on allegations of stealing cattle in Ballia pic.twitter.com/Ok5sFuRx4J— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 10, 2018
The authorities are yet to issue any statement in this regard. After coming to power in March last year, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered the closure of slaughterhouses and banned cow smuggling across the state.
Recently, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in UP decided to spend a whopping Rs 7.86 crore for the cow census. Along with it, the state government would also get a census of buffaloes, pigs, goats and sheep done.
In November last year, Yogi said that any person who indulges in cruelty to cows will find himself behind bars.
"If any person indulges in cruelty to cows (leave aside talking of killing of cows), he will find himself behind bars," Yogi said while addressing an event organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Gauraksha Vibhag.