Sangh leaders say they want to combat the negative publicity they get over beef lynchings
Their names will also be submitted to local police stations, so that they can ‘assist’ in stopping the ‘illegal beef trade’.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, will soon issue ID cards to their ‘cow protection’ volunteers.
This is being done in an effort to combat the negative publicity the Sangh Parivar has been getting recently over the lynchings of minorities and Dalits by cow vigilantes, after curbs on the slaughter and transportation of beef were put in place.
The state VHP Vice President Hemant Jambhekar said, “Due to the activities of some elements who take the law into their own hands, who carry saffron flags and raise slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while carrying out raids on the illegal transportation of cattle, our organisation is getting a bad name.”
Therefore decided to issue ID cards to those of its volunteers who are involved in cow protection activities, and will also submit their names to local police stations. “Thus, it will be easier for the police to identify who is involved in these incidents and who is not, and our organisations will no longer be defamed,” he said.
In July this year, four men connected to independent MLA Bacchu Kadu’s Prahar organisation had beaten up a man in Nagpur district for allegedly carrying beef. Interestingly, the man who was beaten up, Salim Sheikh, is associated with the BJP’s Minorities Cell.
However, initial reports seemed to suggest that the men were Bajrang Dal members, and the incident received wide publicity in the national media. This is just the sort of bad press the VHP wants to avoid, and it hopes giving its cadre identity cards will help in that direction.
“Our workers never take the law into their hands; they only assist the law enforcement machinery in stopping the illegal transportation of cattle and the illegal beef trade. However, such incidents (like the attack on Sheikh), unnecessarily defame us. But once our workers are armed with identity cards and the local police know who they are, their harassment at the hands of the police will also stop,” Jambhekar said.