From assassination of Mahatma Gandhi to innumerable communal riots that occurred post-independence to deface the secular face of the country, media in most of the cases linked the name of Rashtra Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) to the violence and it happened again and again despite strong denial by the organization. In the wake of the assassination of Father of the Nation, the killer of the Mahatma—Nathuram Godse who had a link to the RSS was arrested. The then Union Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel banned the RSS and the ban was lifted only when the organization committed that it would work in social arena and would never indulge in politics. The organization never believed in the secular Constitution of India and avoided hoisting the National Flag at its office in Nagpur. However, the political wing of the organization—Bharatiya Janatal Party(BJP) exploited the Babri Masjid-Ram temple row and became a political force to reckon with, thanks to the skewed strategy of the veteran leader L K Advani. The surge catapulted the party to power first in 1998, and again in 2014 by firstly, dropping the controversial issues of Babri Masjid, common civil code and deletion of Article 370 from its regular agenda then secondly, by seeking all help from corporate companies on the promise of premium and of course by making false promises through persuasive speeches of Narendra Modi, the great glib of the time who became the Prime Minister by winning elections with absolute majority.
Now the RSS is the acclaimed guiding force of the government. Therefore if the chief of the organization Mohan Bhagwat makes some comments on a crucial issue, they cannot be ignored as a whimsical remark. He while addressing the office bearers and members of the organization on Vijayadasami, the foundation day of RSS, gave a clean chit to cow vigilantes saying baseless allegations were levelled against them. He said the Gau Rakshaks were performing their duty ‘piously’ and in the process they would get hurt when they were attacked. This is a false, untrue and misguiding picture while the bitter reality is that cow vigilantes, since the BJP came to power, turned violent and aggressive and are not only beating and thrashing but even lynching and killing innocent people particularly Muslims and Dalits who are transporting the cattle from one place to another. Umpteen incidents were reported and shown on TV channels. Even Prime Minister had to speak up on the issue more than once. He advised the state governments to curb them. Even the Supreme Court had to intervene to direct the state governments to deal sternly with the Gau Rakshak brigades. The defence of the cow vigilantes by the organization under which they are functioning would not only embolden them but will give boost to their aggressive and violent activities. This was not the most responsible speech and may act as a provocation to murderous activities.
The irony of the circumstances is that most of these violent incidents occurred in the BJP-ruled states and the law and order machinery is not taking them seriously and action is not being taken against the criminals. The Gau Rakshaks know that these states are safe havens for them. Even the cases which were booked are not being seriously pursued by prosecution authorities. Mohammad Akhlaq, a 50-year-old person was lynched by the Gau Rakshak mob in Bisada village near Dadri town in 2015 creating ripples on national and international levels. The mob attacked his house when a rumour was floated that he slaughtered a cow and stored beef in his house. The police did not find any evidence that a cow was slaughtered there and laboratory tests revealed that what he stored was mutton and not beef. A charge sheet was filed on December 22 2015 against 17 persons all of whom were released on bail. The trial is moving on snail’s pace. In the case of Pehlu Khan who was killed in Rajasthan, six accused who were named in the victim’s dying declaration were set free for lack of evidence. This attitude by the police and prosecution authorities and now such speeches by RSS leader would only spur cow vigilantes to continue with their violent activities.