Season’s First Human Sacrifice (August 09, 2010)

News Analysis

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam on the dark implications of public murder of a Dalit in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh at the hands of cow protectors.

Only a few days ago I wrote an analysis on the new stratagems of RSS and allied organisations to distract public attention from the recent crimes of their men and women. The stratagems include: first trying to bully investigating agencies and the UPA government and denying their involvement in violent crimes; failing in that, promising to expel RSS members found guilty of these crimes and dissociating themselves from their own low and mid-level functionaries to escape public ire; starting fresh yatras regarding Ayodhya reminiscent of the murderous pre-December 6, 2002 phenomenon, and launching a go-raksha (cow protection) campaign.

Within days of writing that analysis and warning readers about the possibilities of mischief, I came across a news item (Mail Today, August 3, 2010) that reported the season’s first human sacrifice at the altar of the Holy Cow. The news story, reported by Akash Vashishtha from Ghaziabad, said that 48-year old Surendra Jatav was going somewhere with a cow in Masuri area of Ghaziabad when eight cow protectors appeared on the scene and started beating him with lathis. The beating continued till he was dead. They also threatened his wife and warned her not to report this grisly incident to the police. Thus was the cow “saved”.

In the past, stray Dalits have been killed by cow protectors, although the main victims have been Muslims. In 2002, cow protectors killed five Dalit young men at Jajhjhar in Haryana in a single attack. The Dalits, who had licence for disposing of carcasses of dead cattle were seen skinning a dead cow. For ages the Dalits had been assigned the unpleasant duty of disposing of dead animals. They had been doing their duty in free India under licence, for obtaining which they had to pay a heavy licence fee plus bribes to babus.

The menace of cow protectors has RSS indoctrination and a vicious ideology behind it. This could be seen at a press conference addressed by VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore a few days after the Jajhjhar episode, in Delhi. Kishore, who is an acharya (expert of Hindu scriptures), defended the lynching of the Dalits on the basis of his knowledge of Hindu scriptures. He declared that the life of a cow was worth that of five human beings. He was not dragged to court by anyone, nor shamed by media. Virtually no eyebrows were raised.

Later on, a high official of Haryana government announced that the Dalits would not have been killed: the mishap occurred because the cow protectors thought they were Muslims. The implication was that it would have been better and more virtuous if the victims were Muslims. Later, in a strange twist of irony, the cow’s carcass was sent for a regular post-mortem examination as the Dalits were consigned to flames, their families waiting in vain for justice.

There is another interesting (and anti-human) side to the cow-protection doctrine, which for some reason Kishore did not elaborate upon at the Delhi press conference. It is that cow protectors have given a special consideration to Dalits: the going rate for Dalits is five human lives for one cow’s life. In case of Muslims it is 20 human lives for a cow.

They have calculated that a Muslim eats 20 cows in his lifetime. (Nobody knows the basis for such calculation, and this message is passed around by word of mouth by enthusiastic cow protectors, instead of through public statement like Kishore’s). Hence it is quite reasonable to kill 20 Muslims in a cow protection drive.

Cow protection has an interesting (as well as disturbing) history. It is a reliable instrument of anti-Muslim mobilisation, rioting, arson and mass murder. It is a time-tested political weapon. That’s what makes it so fearsome and menacing. In near future I will get back to this topic. Meanwhile, take care and watch out.


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