Cow vigilantes flourished in Gujarat under PM Modi

gau raksha dalBetween 2011 and 2014, the Gujarat government headed by Modi disbursed Rs.700,000 in cash rewards to 1394 vigilantes for raiding illegal cattle transporters and filing FIRs against them. An equal amount was given to over 2000 shelter providers for the rescued bovine shelter providers, for the rescued cows, and to further motivate the cow protection vigilantes. Rs.375,000 was given to the ‘top performers’, that included a Protector Award.

In the run up to 2014 Modi also denounced the ‘pink revolution and his government also introduced schemes such as a cash reward of Rs.500 for every FIR filed against cattle smugglers and transporters. There was also a biennial ‘Best Cow Protector Award’.

In recent days however PM Modi hit out at self-styled ‘gau rakshaks’ for running shops in the name of cow protection.

The board eventually revived and enacted a law that coincided with the rise in groups involved in protection of the cows. Currently 50 such groups are active under the Gau Rakshak Dal. Modi’s criticism has not been well received by the gau rakshaks.

The president of the state Gau Rakshak Dal (GRD) Mayur Thakkar said the PM’s statement is like an encouragement to slaughter houses, and for the safety of genuine gau rakshaks the government should issue identity cards. Neha Patel the only woman Gau rakshak in Gujarat feels the PM’s statement that most of the vigilantes are anti-social elements, is an exaggeration.