Wednesday, 26 April 2017

As Cow Vigilante Terror Strikes, Bourgeois Democracy Evaporates Into Thin Air

- Anurag Pathak/26.4.2017

Five members of a nomadic family, including a nine-year-old girl and an elderly man, moving with their livestock, were injured in the deadly attack by cow vigilante group on the night of Friday, April 21, in Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir.

The family was intercepted by a large group of saffron Vigilantes and beaten up with iron rods. In videos of the attack women are clearly heard screaming and begging for mercy inside a shed as a large group of men kick the tin structure and chant slogans.

The police, present on the scene of occurance, is recorded stating that families that move with cattle have been advised "to travel with proper permission and only during the day". Undeterred by the scathing exposure of on-the-spot instant support by the police to cow vigilante attackers, SDS Jamwal, a senior officer in J&K police said "Strict action will be taken. These people (the victims) were moving with their livestock without permission. They were intercepted by Gau-Rakshaks and beaten up.

Again, a day after this attack, three men transporting buffaloes in a truck were beaten up by cow vigilantes near Kalkaji metro station in South Delhi on late Saturday night. A senior journalist Hartosh Singh Bal, who witnessed the incident said that the police officers present at the place behaved like mute supporters of the vigilantes. He said he first saw the victims “lying by the roadside”. Alleging collusion with the police, Bal wrote that the accused, who beat up the cattle transporters, “were all milling at the spot when police came,” but not one of them was arrested by the cops. Later, in an apparent bid to cover up the misdeed of cow vigilante group, a senior police officer told media that the attackers were not ‘gau rakshaks’ but members of an animal rights NGO, People for Animals. “The NGO People for Animals has been working against animal cruelty in Delhi for a long time. They are not ‘gau rakshaks’, he said. The office of Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, a well-known animal rights activist who is also the chairman of the PFA, however, denied that the men are connected to her organisation.

The right-wing hindu fundamentalist cow vigilantes or Gau Rakshaks have gained the ground since 2014 after electoral victory of hindu supremacist BJP in general elections and formation of the government by it at the centre. The states in which BJP holds the reigns and thus commands police power too are worst affected as these vigilante groups act in tandem with police.

The terror campaign was given a legal face first by the Maharashtra government in March 2015, when it had framed a law banning ‘beef’ and prescribed five years jail term and fine of Rs.10,000/- for violations. While a 1976 law already prevented the slaughtering of cow, the new law extended it to bulls and calves.

Following in the footsteps of Maharashtra, the saffron Government in Haryana enacted similar law prescribing jail term with fine of Rs.50,000/-.

In doing this, the states have prepared a whole legal and moral ground for free play for operation of ‘cow terrorism’.

Immediately afterwards, the events had started taking their course.

A man from Rajasthan, Abdul Ghaffar was murdered after a rumour spread that Abdul has killed 200 cows for feast. This was followed by murder of Mohammed Akhlaque in Dadri, Noida, by a crowd on allegations of consuming beef on the occasion of Eid.

On October 2015, a village mob lynched a man in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh for alleged cattle smuggling. This was followed by a violent clash which broke out in Haryana’s Palwal district when villagers stopped a truck alleging that it was carrying cow’s flesh.

Amidst all of this, the Prime Minister of India who was busy in promoting ‘make in India’ in foreign markets to woo foreign investors to invest in India, spared few seconds only to cover up the criminal deeds of saffron cow vigilante belonging to Sangh Parivar. ‘There are people who hide their heinous crimes of night by protecting cows in day time’, virtually denying the role of hindu chauvinist gangs behind the surging social terror, and instead accusing petty criminals for it.

This cover-up though did not deter but encouraged the right-wing fascist bands of Sangh Parivar. A wave never follows the leader who created it, but uses the leaders to clear the obstacles in it’s path. The events that followed the ‘moral’ lecture by PM would prove it.

On April 1, five men, boarding a trailer, validly transporting their livestock, were stopped and badly assaulted by ‘gau rakshaks' in Alwar district of Rajasthan and one among them, Pehlu Khan from Haryana, was lynched to death. The mob let only the driver of the vehicle run away from the spot, as he belonged to Hindu community.

“We were returning from a Saturday fair in Jaipur. I had bought two milch cows for Rs 75,000, and I had all the valid documents with me. We were not even trying to hide the cows, as we were taking them in a pick-up truck. At around 6 pm on Saturday, the gau-rakshaks stopped our vehicle and asked us our names. They allowed our driver, Arjun, to leave,” told Azmat, 22, narrating the incident, who was with Khan in the pick-up truck.

“I told them I had all the documents but they pulled us out of the vehicle and beat us up. They snatched Rs 35,000/- from me. I later lost consciousness and woke up in a hospital at around 1 am on Sunday,” he said.

The police forced to make an FIR of the incident after the murder of Pehlu Khan, booked the victims also under the Rajasthan Bovine Animals (Prohibition of Slaughter & Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995.

In an interview with NDTV on this deadly attack, the State Home Minister repeatedly downplayed the incident as "manhandling". He rigidly refused to accept the death of ‘Pehlu Khan’ as murder and said that ‘both the sides’ have ‘broken the law’, hence the law will punish the guilty on both sides. Forced to explain the apparent trivialization of murder, the minister took off his mic and walked off, muttering "nonsense".

The Stalinist left that claims to represent the working class and minorities did nothing in any of the incidents, except appealing to the state institutions controlled by the Fascists. A delegation of the Stalinist CPM, led by its Polit Bureau member, Suhasini Ali, has timidly demanded that the district authorities remove the so-called Hindu chowkis (checkpoints) as a measure against vigilantism. ““The family of Pehlu Khan must be given compensation and help in rehabilitation. Others who were injured should be compensated. All the possessions of those attacked, who are in the hospital, should be returned to them by the district administration,” said a statement signed by the delegation.

This terror spree by the hindu supremacist and fundamentalist groups, is duly sanctioned by the top leaders of the Sangh Parivar of which these groups are parts. They are given free hand to trade terror and the local administration and the police is directed to assist them. Not a single condemnation for these crimes has ever come from any BJP leader or any of their allies.

To look at these events in isolation from each other, or the incidents divorced from each other, will throw us in bewilderment. These events are clear reflection of the fact that what remains of old bourgeois democracy is nothing but its carcass. Fascists have taken the ground and are determined to gag the society through violence.

The global crisis of Capitalism which has prepared the conditions for germination of fascism once again, in all countries, will have disastrous consequences in countries like India given its very backward cultural base. The Fascists, as representatives of the dying bourgeoisie, seek for strength in the desperation of the petty-bourgeoisie by distracting the wrath away from fiasco of capitalism and its devastating consequences. Fascists, attempt to use their anger to consolidate the state power by giving them immediate tokens and false dreams of the future. The characteristic feature of this Fascist movement is that it appeals to these ruined sections of society- the petty-bourgeoisie and the lumpen-proletariat- to carry forward it’s terror spree and crush all resistance. The groups like ‘cow vigilantes’ are perfect example to show how through fascism, capitalism can use its own victims exploiting their cultural backwardness to assert it’s political will upon the society as a whole.

The matter of concern is not the growing strength and increment in the number of fascist bands, but the fact that it also pulls sections of working class behind it, that are betrayed now and then by the psuedo-left leadership. These pseudo-lefts, in their phony fight against fascism have never gone beyond appealing to the state institutions of the bourgeoisie. They have even entered into alliances with fascists to their convenience.

Despite the fact the fascists have gained much ground, working class can still do away with them if it gets rid of the old fake left leadership. The crisis of capitalism of which fascism is an offshoot, is global, and hence the fight against fascism too will have to go beyond the national precincts. We thereby, appeal the youth and the working class, to support the struggle of WSP, comprehend its political perspective and organize around it to resist and crush fascism alongside the decadent capitalism through a Proletarian revolution on the Indian sub-continent and in South Asia as part of the World Socialist Revolution.

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