New Delhi: For the second time in as many days, RSS has condemned violence against Dalits by cow vigilante groups. The statement follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against cow vigilantism this weekend, including that the majority of gau rakshaks were anti-social elements.
“Taking law into their own hands and mistreating people from their own samaaj (social group) is not only injustice but downright inhuman conduct,” RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi said in a statement on Monday.
He added that violence against Dalits needed to be condemned in the “strongest terms”. “We ask all sections of society to be wary of elements who are disturbing trust and amity. We expect the administration to ensure the punishment of individuals and groups who are making a mockery of the law.”
The demonstrative support from RSS for Modi’s comments+ was clearly intended to be a signal to the larger Sangh Parivar that the PM was not speaking at cross-purposes with the saffron fountainhead. The need for RSS’ statement became evident after some gau rakshak groups said they did not agree with the PM’s view.
Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) said on Sunday it was not in the line of fire, but maintained it would continue to work for cow protection and claimed they had been doing so for long. But the organisation seemed uncomfortable with Modi branding gau rakshaks as people doing “business” in the name of cow protection and saying they were in conflict with the law.
Like the PM, the Sangh condemned violence against Dalits and did not mention Muslims, who have also been at the receiving end of the “raids” carried out by cow vigilantes. The pointed outreach to Dalits is important in the context of next year’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, where BJP is banking on being able to woo a section of Scheduled Castes.
The statement seems intended to prevent the political damage that was seen to have been caused by Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call to review reservations ahead of the Bihar elections last year. RSS worked actively to back the PM and leave no room for any impression to gather force that it was ambivalent on the violent acts of gau rakshaks.
The Sangh was also critical of the media for reports based on “hastily gathered” facts that were proving counter-productive by generating an atmosphere of distrust and disquiet. “These reports are escalating the conflict,” RSS said.