Cow vigilantes or “gau rakshaks,” are self-appointed violent protectors of cows. The incident in Palwal, Haryana, where a group of cow vigilantes chased and thrashed a Muslim truck driver over allegations of transporting cattle, is a clear example of the dangerous consequences of such vigilantism.
What makes the incident even more disturbing is the crudely edited video that has been circulating on social media, which shows the group of cow vigilantes chasing and “rescuing” cows from the young Muslim truck driver. The video is set to the soundtrack of the song “Aarambh hai Prachand,” which adds to the sense of aggression. It also contains text with the date of the incident as well as the cow vigilante teams that were involved – 05/03/23 को पकड़ा ट्रक 38 गौ वंश की बचाई जान टीम सोनू हिंदू पलवल टीम परवीन वशिष्ठ फरीदाबाद टीम शैलेंद्र हिंदू पलवल टीम शिवा दाहिया बल्लबगढ़. (names of cow vigilante “teams” from different regions)
This video may be viewed here:
— Hate Detector ? (@HateDetectors) March 14, 2023
There have been several cases where innocent people have been attacked or killed by cow vigilantes, often based on mere suspicions or rumours.
It is the responsibility of the Indian government to take strong action against these vigilante groups and ensure that the rule of law is upheld. The authorities must also address the underlying issues that are fuelling such vigilantism, such as religious intolerance and hatred towards minorities.