Days after a 55-year-old dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, died after being assaulted by gau rakshaks in Alwar, RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday called for a nationwide ban on cow slaughter, but urged gau rakshaks to avoid violence.
“Gau hatya bandi sarkar ke adhin hai. Hamari ichha hai ki sampurna Bharat men gauvansh ki hatya bandh ho. Is kanoon ko prabhavi banana sarkaar ki zimmedari hai. (The decision to impose a ban on cow slaughter rests with the government. We want cow slaughter to be banned in the entire country. It is the duty of the government to make this law effective),” said Bhagwat.
He was speaking at an event to observe the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir.
The RSS chief, however, admitted that India’s diversity makes it difficult to implement a uniform law across the country. “Due to political complexities, it would take time to implement the law in the entire country,” he said.
Stating that “the states that have dedicated swayamsevaks (in power) have made laws in this regard”, he expressed confidence that they would “resolve local complexities” and work towards protecting cows.
While he did not mention the Alwar incident, Bhagwat said: “Gau hatya ke naam par kisi bhi prakar ki hinsa se is abhiyan par bura asar padta hai (Any violence in the name of cow slaughter has an adverse impact on the movement).”
Stating that “there is no law that asks you to commit violence,” he added that “gaayon ki raksha ka prayas karne walon ko apna prayas jari rakhna chahiye (those who are involved in cow protection must continue with their efforts).”
“There should not be any violence during gau raksha. Gau rakshaks must ensure that they do not hurt the feelings of people while protecting the cow. Or else, the methods of gau raksha will be questioned,” said the RSS chief, adding that “the work of cow conservation should be carried out while obeying the laws and the Constitution.”
Bhagwat also said no law can end cow slaughter unless there is a change in the mindset of the people. His remarks are in consonance with the RSS’s twin stand on the issue — support gau rakshaks, but condemn violence.
Last August, soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had termed gau rakshaks as “anti-social” and asked state governments to act against them, RSS Sarkaryavah Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi had said that “some anti-social elements of society have been taking law into their hands in the name of gau raksha.” Stating that “it can make the sacred task of gau raksha and gau seva look suspect,” Joshi had urged “the countrymen to expose the condemnable acts of a handful of such opportunistic persons, and not to link them with people who are involved in the sacred duty of gau raksha”.
During his annual Vijayadashmi speech last year, Bhagwat had advocated the cause of gau rakshaks and said gau raksha has been “validated” by the “Constitution, science and tradition.” Noting that several states have laws against cow slaughters, he had said “gau rakshaks sometimes launch movements to ensure that these laws are implemented… while doing so they always try to be within the limits of the law.”