Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh speaking at a meeting in Lucknow on December 23 said that India is the most tolerant country in the world and no other country can be compared to it in this regard. He repeated this fact apparently to rebuff a remark passed by a popular Bolywood actor Naseeruddin Shah who expressed his concern over the atmosphere of intolerance gripping the country. In a video interview with Karwan-e-Mohabbat India, Naseeruddin Shah said the death of a cow is being given more importance than the killing of a policeman. He was referring to an incident that occurred in a village near Bulandshahr on December 3 in which right-wing activists created violence as a carcass was found in a jungle. They took it for granted that it belonged to a slaughtered cow. In the violence the concerned police inspector and another man was killed. Now the policeman in Uttar Pradesh are more anxious to find out who slaughtered the cow than to catch hold of the killer of the policeman. This also shows the deteriorating condition of law and order in Uttar Pradesh.
Naseeruddin Shah said he was very much worried about the future of his children in the country which is gripped by communal forces. Naturally the future of his children should be uppermost in his mind. The same feelings and sentiments were expressed by another actor Aamir Khan who in 2015 expressed somewhat the same fears. At that time in the wake of murder of Aklaq who was lynched by Gau Rakshaks in the Dadri village of Uttar Pradesh, many prominent citizens, artists and authors protested against the incident. It was for the first time that country witnessed such a protest over intolerance in the country. The aggressive attitude of cow vigilantes is still prevalent. Naseeruddin Shah said that the poison had already spread and it was very difficult to bring back the ‘jin’ into the bottle. The fear expressed by the actor is a ground reality. The Sangh Parivar activists are freely engaged in killing Muslims andDalits while they are transporting animals from one place to another in many parts of the country. They allege that the animals are being shifted for slaughter.
Cow slaughter was banned in many states of the country but no one was killed on the pretext of cow slaughter. Cow vigilantes were there but they were not active vigorously as they are today. The state governments particularly those ruled by the BJP are simply patronizing the Gau Rakshaks. Only few murder and lynching incidents are being probed. Observing the law of the land, the full protection should be given to cow but the safety of human beings should not be thrown to winds. It seems the government is pursuing a religious agenda of protecting cows. Another actor Aupam Kher jumping into the fray said how much freedom Naseeruddin Shah wants in the country where Army officers are being abused and stones are pelted at Army. The argument itself shows the bias of his mind. Naseeruddin Shah wants to show the social atmosphere of the county which is being polluted by the communal elements with the full protection of the government of the day. Being a Union Minister Rajnath Singh should also take the responsibility.