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‘Gau rakshaks’ have brought us shame

The decades-old reputation of the Jana Sangh and its successor, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as a Brahmin-Bania party has been reinforced by a series of recent events. First, its ministers — Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya — maliciously targeted supporters of the Ambedkar Students’ Association in the University of Hyderabad, leading to the suicide of a bright young student, Rohith Vemula. Now, the ‘gau rakshaks’ or cow protectors associated with the saffron brotherhood have run amok in Gujarat, beating up a group of Dalits for skinning a dead cow, which is their traditional profession. Nor is this the first time that the self-appointed saffron vigilantes have attacked and even killed cowherds and suspected beef-eaters.

However, in these days of ever-present cameras and an overactive social media, the images of the Dalit boys being thrashed have fuelled Dalit fury and made the BJP run for cover. Probably for the first time, the holy cow — a longstanding obsession with the Hindutva brigade – has landed the BJP in deep trouble.

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