Video footage of gau rakshaks (cow protector) beating up women and children of a nomad family went viral. A few days before, Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, was beaten for transporting cow. Pehlu Khan died of his injury. This was followed by attack by cow protection group on a truck carrying buffalo in Delhi. Driver was beaten up. In this atmosphere of increased frequency of attack by gau rakshaks and accompanying increase in tension and terror, our channel Right Left and No Center arranged a debate to get a better understanding of different view points.
Anchor was an assertive and aggressive lady. She had experience handling clever as well as unruly men in her studio. Her main ammunition was asking long winding question that would confuse her guests. Even before the answer is over, she would interfere and the cut the answer short. Today, she was visibly upset. She started with representative of ruling party.
Anchor : “Sir, you are ruling at the centre, you are ruling in J&K, you are ruling in Rajashtan. Why in all states you are in government, cow vigilantes are active? Why did you not arrest the attackers, these goons. Goons that beat women, children and elderly. Are you playing vote bank politics? Why are you selectively targeting muslims? Is it not your agenda, to trouble muslims? Muslims do not vote for you. What do you have to say?”
Ruling party spokes person is an experienced gentleman. Even under intense pressure, he always retains smile on his face. He has mastered the art of giving long winding answer. This will run down the clock. At the same time, infuriate his opponent and the anchor. Today, issue was serious. A person has died. Viral video of attack on women and children also looked very bad. He had instruction from party office, to put his best foot forward. He started by saying,
” My party strongly condemns killing of Pehlu Khan and attack on family of nomads. We do not play caste and community politics. My prime minister says “sabka saath, sabka vikas” meaning “development for all”. Our honorable prime minster has already said, “gau rakshaks are criminals”. Police has registered case against these goons. Law will take its own course”.
Anchor : “If you are sincere, why are criminals still out roaming on the street? Why did you arrest the victim? Why did you sell cow to victim if you have no law to transport cattle? Why did you not apologise to family of victims? What compensation are you going to give him? Why did your prime minister, and your chief minister not made any statement? This is your calculated strategy to terrorise muslims, is it not?”
Even before, ruling party spokes person could respond, gau rakshak jumped in. He was a man clad in a saffron robe. He was more fluent in Hindi than in English, asked,
“ Who can send us to jail? People who protect cow should be honoured. Like Bhagat Singh, these young boys and men have endangered and sacrificed their lives in the service of the nation. No government can arrest us. This government has come to power with our help. It is our government. We shall not allow insult of our mothers and sisters. “
Anchor: “what do you mean it is your government? It is ruling party’s government. Are you or are you not a member of ruling formation? Who gave you right to hit a cattle transporter? What gives you confidence that you will not be arrested?”
Gau rakshak : ” we had mobilised people, raised money and shared ideology with he ruling party. In our land ruled by our government, we shall not allow our mothers taken to slaughter house. We shall mobilise people and see to it that government falls.”
Anchor announced a breaking news, exclusive to our channel: “Gau rakshak and Ruling Party are hand in glove. Gau rakshak not going to jail”.
Anchor : But, Pehlu Khan was a dairy farmer. Why attack him? He had all the papers?
Gau Rakshak : “A dairy farmer today, a butcher tomorrow. We cannot let a muslim man transport a cow. He will certainly sell our mother to a butcher. His papers are all fraud. Pehlu Khan was a fraud. Listen, we shall ban buffalo slaughter also. We shall ban eating all meat in India. ”
Anchor was really interested now. She wanted the gau rakshak to keep on shooting. She goaded him further, “Why kill a cattle transporter? Why not hand him over to police? What do you mean vegetarian India? Really! How can you do that? So many people eat mean in India? Meat is a diet for muslims, dalits and many Hindus in Kashmir, West Bengal and Kerala?”
Gau Rakshak : “Our brothers are killed in Kashmir, Bengal, Kerala, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other places. You never cry for them. You never do TV debate for them. Now you are asking about Pehlu Khan? So what, one person is killed? It is our government. Once cows are protected, we shall bring Ram Rajya in India. We shall all become vegetarian and rule of law will prevail. Development for all. Peace on India.”
Ruling party spokesperson saw that things are going out of hand. If this man keep on speaking, then it will be headline news all over India. Already he is getting message for a TV interview. So he intervened, “My government does not depend on support on any cow or cow protector. We shall will showing face of our PM, and not that of a cow, in our manifesto. Killers will be behind bars. As law will take its course. By the way, cow transport and cow protection is an age old practice. Why all of a sudden it has become a primetime news? Is it an attempt by TV channels, to project ruling party as anti minority before upcoming elections? You followed same strategy when a priest was criminally assaulted, and media blamed us.”
Anchor: “I am out of time. I give the last thirty second to spokes person of opposition. I am sorry to keep you waiting, but do have your say.”
Opposition spokee was very angry. He waited for so long. Now he is given last thirty seconds. Yet he had to speak his party position, ” Look, it is a disgrace, you do not let opposition voice to speak. This is fascism. This is dictatorship. Like demonetisation, like closing of abattoirs, like killing of Pehlu Khan, like attacking helpless Nomad family, this government is playing with peoples lives. Where is law and order? You cannot let the ruling party go so easily by saying law will take its course. Law never takes its course. Law has to be enforced. Who are these Gau Rakshak people to make India vegetarian. Ruling party is hand in glove with these extremists. I shall protest. I demand another debate on the subject. I must speak first.”
The anchor was out of time. Prime time news team was already there. Anchor promised to comeback on the debate soon. Last heard, chief minister of the state had promised that strict action will be taken against killers of Pehlu Khan. But they are still at large.
Disclaimer : This is an imaginary conversation. There is no resemblance to any debate. No debate ever took place.