Guwahati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's warning to gau rakshaks, acting in the name of protecting cows, seems to have fallen on deaf ears as three vehicles transporting cattle were stopped on the outskirts of Assam's Guwahati on Sunday afternoon and the drivers beaten up.
The assailants, suspected to be the members of the Hindu Yuba Chattra Parishad, attacked the drivers despite them having proper documents. A video purportedly showing a man slammed into the ground and kicked by alleged vigilantes has surfaced. The man, writhing in pain, was then hit with a stick, while others captured his agony on their phones.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Modi had warned cow vigilantes against taking law into their own hands. "To make up for a child's loss, I have seen the cow getting sacrificed. And now when I hear we are killing people in the name of a cow, we are no one to take law in our hands," he had said, adding violence was not the solution.
Two days later, on Saturday, President Pranab Mukherjee came down heavily on self-proclaimed gau rakshaks, saying, "When mob frenzy becomes so high, irrational and uncontrollable, we have to pause and reflect."
The two top leader condemned the acts of cow vigilantes in the shadow of several lynchings that have occurred over the past two years.
Mukherjee also said that one cannot obliterate one's duty towards the issue, saying, "Posterity will demand an explanation from us about what we have done. I raise this question within myself."
The president also appealed to the media to remain constantly vigilant saying it is because of it that democracy survives.
The issue of cow protection has taken the centrestage, particularly in the light of several cases in which Muslims have come under attack.
On July 22, Junaid, a 15-year-old boy from Haryana, was stabbed to death by a mob on a train over the suspicion that he was carrying beef.
In April 2017, Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old farmer from Haryana, was also murdered by cow protectors in Rajasthan while transporting cows legally purchased from a market in Jaipur.
Mohammad Akhlaque, a resident of Bisara village in Greater Noida was lynched in 2015 on suspicion of storing beef in his fridge.