Reports of total lack of tolerance of any behaviour not approved by vigilante groups related in some way to cows are increasing by the day. What is most alarming is that a large number of goons claiming to belong to the alleged cow vigilante groups are linked to the police. The outcome of this is entirely predictable. What is happening now in parts of Rajasthan and even nearer the tiol capital is that the police are reported to be targeting the lynch-mob victims rather than the perpetrators of violence against victims. Recently, two boys who were with Ummar, the latest victim of the suspected cow vigilantes in Rajasthan, were arrested on Monday on charges of cattle smuggling. This was revealed at a media conference in New Delhi by Ummar’s uncle Ilyas. It will be recalled that Ummar had died at the hands of a mob of alleged cow vigilantes on November 10. Ilyas, who hails from Rajasthan said recently, “We want the killers of Ummar to be punished. But now we are facing cases ourselves. The two boys who were with Ummar—Tahir and Javed—were arrested on charges of cattle smuggling. The police have filed several such cases against our Meo community including me.” [The Meos live mostly in Rajasthan and Harya, farming and raising cattle.] It will be recalled that 42-year-old Ummar, accused of smuggling cattle, was thrashed by a mob in Alwar, Rajasthan before being shot.
The proliferation of vigilante cow groups that go unpunished is giving a bad me to the government. If anything, they are beginning to look like vigilante groups working with the full support of the government. We cannot afford to forget that we are the world’s largest democracy, that we have a Constitution that gives people certain rights and that we cannot now take away those legal rights without seriously affecting the image of what India stands for. It is time we learnt to be more tolerant of different forms of behaviour that remain legal. It is time intolerant vigilante groups were taken to task.