What does Hinduism say about cow protection

At least 44 people have been lynched by so-called cow fans in India since 2015. Like Prime Minister Modi's party, they belong to the Hindutva movement, which wants to make India a Hindu state of God.

Akbar Khan was brutally murdered on July 21, 2018. The Muslim and his colleague Aslam Khan had bought two cows at a market in Haryana. The two farmers were on their way back to their village of Nuh when they were attacked by a Hindu lynch mob. Akbar was seriously injured; Aslam Khan escaped. Three of the attackers were initially arrested. However, Gyan Dev Ahuja, member of parliament for the Hindu nationalist ruling party BJP, demanded the immediate release of the murderers - and instead the arrest of the witness Aslam Khan.

Embodiment of mother earth

As the embodiment of Mother Earth, cows are sacred animals for Hindus and their slaughter is prohibited in most Indian states. In recent years, however, several states ruled by the Indian People's Party (BJP) have passed stricter laws and guidelines that harm the non-Hindu minorities of Muslims, the Dalit and the native Adivasi. "Calls for protection for cows may have been a way of gaining Hindu votes in the beginning.

In the meantime, they have become a license for violence against minorities, "complains Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Criticism from human rights defenders

On 104 pages, the human rights organization documents in the report "Violent protection of cows in India: vigilante groups attack minorities" violence by cow flocks and the protection they enjoy from the BJP and the police. According to HRW, at least 44 people were murdered by Kuhrächer between May 2015 and December 2018. In almost all documented cases, the police stopped investigations, ignored procedures or even participated in murders or their cover-ups. "The police are under political pressure to sympathize with cow protectors, to investigate slackly and to let them go," a retired police officer from Rajasthan is quoted as saying.

India is the largest supplier of beef in the world thanks to its $ 4 billion worth of buffalo meat exports annually.

Cattle trade and slaughterhouses were operated by Muslims with Dalit and Adivasi as workers. However, business has collapsed due to the Kuhrächer policy. The many Hindu cattle farmers who are no longer able to sell their animals due to the slaughtering bans are also affected. "The leaders of the Hindutva movement do not realize how much they are harming their own Hindu community as well as the country through their obsessive cow protection," said author and agricultural expert M. L. Parihar.

Cows campaign topic?

The BJP and Modi owed their landslide-like victory in the 2014 election to the Hindu voters in the "cow belt" in northern India, where a third of the Indian population lives. Since the success of the secular congress party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi (48) in a series of state elections in this "cow belt" at the end of 2018, the aura of the invincibility of the president and his party has been gone.

Farmers are furious with Modi's economic policies, which are ruining farmers and killing thousands. A potential election failure in view, Modi could further fuel extremist agitation and violence against religious minorities in the election campaign in order to keep the Hindu electorate in line, warns the Jesuit and human rights activist Cedric Prakash in an interview with the Catholic News Agency (KNA) . "It's a political scam to manipulate voters."

Akbar Khan could still be alive if the police had not joined forces with the cow fans. It took the officers three hours to get the seriously injured man to the hospital, which is only 20 minutes from the crime scene. However, the police first took a tea break and then took care of the removal of the cows. When Khan was hospitalized, he was dead.