Beef politics will not be allowed in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee
After the lynching of Akhlaque Ahmad in Dadri by cow vigilantes, there is a spurt of beating and harassing of minority communities in the name of cow protection by the self-styled cow vigilantes. Defying the law of the land, the "gua rakshaks' beat two women in Mandsaur alleging they were carrying beef. The cow protectors beat some dalit youths in Una in Gujarat last month as they were skinning a dead cow. The incident had a serious backlash in the state. The Gujarat government came under pressure from various parties and rights organizations. On 31st July, Dalits in Gujarat held a massive rally criticizing the Gujarat government for protecting the culprits. The Dalit outrage had political fallout. The Chief Minister of Gujarat Anandiben Patel had to resign and a new Chief Minister swore in. Fearing that the Dalit anger might affect the political equations in Gujarat in next elections, PM Modi lambasted at the self styled cow vigilantes terming them "anti-social elements'. He even called the Dalits "his brothers' to appease and calm them. The accused of the Una incident were booked. However, the cow protection campaign seems to give the BJP an impetus as it serves their policy of polarization among the masses on communal grounds. Therefore, BJP leaders in Punjab and Haryana have also become cow protectors overnight.
In Bengal where the BJP is trying hard to build base has adopted the cow protection policy in the hope that it might give the party dividends. Therefore, it has announced that it would launch a door to door cow survey before Eidul Adha so that they can ascertain how many cows were slaughtered during Muslim festival of animal sacrifice. This announcement alerted the state government as it might create communal tensions between the two communities and might even lead to communal clashes during the festival season. That's why the Chief Minister of West Bengl Mamata Banerjee took the issue seriously and mentioned it in her speech during her party's rally on July 21. She categorically said that beef politics would not be allowed in the state.
She slammed the BJP government for inciting intolerance in the country through 'politics of cow' and saffronising the state.
"I heard that few people, on behalf of a political party or its sister organisation is reaching out to the people. They are asking about the number of cows in each household. What right do they have to ask this question?"
"Some people have forgotten that people have the right to chose. I wear a sari and it is not a problem, but someone may chose to wear salwar-kameez and then it turns out to be a problem. We may wear dhoti, but someone may prefer a lungi - what is the issue here. Who are you to decide? A few people would decide what to wear and what not to eat...how is it possible?" she asked.
She also warned communal outfits and communal political parties of stern action if they tried to foment communal tensions in the name of cow survey or cow vigilantism. She said, "I would like to make it clear that if someone would like to conduct this [cow] survey - tries to set fire - be rest assured we would not tolerate that. We would fight such [intentions] politically. We will not let you set houses on fire."
Recently, a Calcutta High Court Lawyer, Surya Ghosh has sent a legal notice to Gau Raksha Committee that had announced the cow survey saying that it would create communal tension in the state. The notice said that in Gujarat, tensions were created in the name of cow protection. The lawyer has appealed a stay on the survey to save the state from communal politics.
Eidul Adha, the festival of sacrifices is approaching and it will coincide with Durga Puja this year. The communal outfits may take the advantage of this situation for creating communal tension in the state. The state government needs to take preventive measures to keep anti-social elements under control.