Defending Dalits against cow defenders – Mallepalli Laxmaiah

What has Narendra Modi done for cow protection?

Mallepalli LaxmaiahIf it is taken to be true that selling the skin of cows is a crime, one must question the “Defenders of the Cow” as to why they do not target the companies that engage in the slaughter, a question to which we will find silence as an answer. Why have all those who have been demanding ban on animal slaughter and the BJP itself, not shut down the slaughter houses? – Mallepalli Laxmaiah

The cow is sacred to some Indians. Does the cow, however, retain its sanctity upon its death? We never see the corpse of a sacred cow being worshipped inside a house, but it does retain its sanctity to a marginalised section of the society. Dalits, who carefully skin the decaying corpse of a cow and preserve it to make leather, hold their profession in high regard—which goes a long way in saying that there is nothing more sacred than the worship of one’s work. This community, which has been making the putrefying corpse of a cow useful to our society for centuries, has never been held in honour or even given a modicum of respect, but has been a target for assault, rape, public insults, murder and several other atrocities.

A week ago, in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat, four Dalit youth, who were skinning a dead cow, were tied to a jeep and dragged to a police station while being beaten along the way. Their pleas that they were only skinning a dead one fell on deaf ears of the so-called “Defenders of the Cow”. It is no surprise that the Dalit youth, for fear of further torture and a dishonourable death, were prepared to commit suicide. This tendency has  grown alarmingly in the past few months—out of the 16 recent suicide attempts, one person had unfortunately lost his life. There have been several protests on this issue. In the town of Amrelli, 400 km from Ahmedabad, the protests took a violent turn. One protester died in police firing while a policeman succumbed to injuries in stone-pelting by the protesters. A bandh was declared last Wednesday protesting the attitude of the State and the police towards the plight of the Dalits in Gujarat.

The people, who have been in the leather works for centuries, now live in perpetual fear of persecution from the “Defenders of the Cow”. This is not an isolated incident in Gujarat but a growing trend over the past two years; people are being assaulted or even lynched on accusations that they have killed or skinned a cow or consumed cow meat. Moreover, after the BJP came to power, Hindu extremists have been orchestrating these attacks shamelessly.

The situation is more noticeable in North India. In Haryana, five Dalit youth were lynched in the presence of police officers in 2002. They were attacked by a mob while they were on way to the market with cow hide. They were thrashed to death at a police outpost. It is pertinent to note that animal trade is important to the Indian economy. India ranks first in animal trade followed by Brazil and Australia. Out of the six biggest meat trade companies, four are owned and run by Hindus. The BJP admittedly receives funding from some of these companies as mentioned in its annual accounts submitted to the Election Commission. In 2014-15, India had generated a revenue of  Rs 33,128 crores out of which Rs 29,282 crore was from bovine cattle meat and Rs 828 crore was from goat and sheep meat.

Humpbacked Brahma cattle being bled to death—for halal beef—in the Shatish & Atul Sabharwal-owned Al Kabeer abattoir in Rudraram Village, Medak District, Andhra Pradesh. This beef is for export to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.As on 31 March, 2014, India had 1,623 slaughterhouses out of which 310 were in Maharashtra, 285 in Uttar Pradesh, 183 in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, 130 in Tamil Nadu and 96 in Karnataka. Other than these, there are several small slaughter houses. After the animals are skinned and the meat extracted, the leather is taken by Dalits for sale in the town markets. This has been wrongly propagated as cow slaughter. If it is taken to be true that selling the skin of cows is a crime, one must question the “Defenders of the Cow” as to why they do not target the companies that engage in the slaughter, a question to which we will find silence as an answer. Why have all those who have been demanding ban on animal slaughter and the BJP itself, not shut down the slaughterhouses? Most of the trade happens in the guise of Muslim companies, which are owned and run by Hindus. Of the top six meat exporting companies, Al Kabeer is owned by Satish, Arabian Exports is run by Sunil Kapoor, MKR Frozen Exports by Madan and PML Industries by A. S. Bandra, to name a few. BJP MLA Sangeet Singh Som of the infamous Senior lawyer and Congress politician Kapil Sibal with his wife Promila: Promila operates three beef processing and export companies in New Delhi called Arshiya Exports Pvt. Ltd, Hacker Electronics India Pvt. Ltd. and Arihant Farm House Pvt. Ltd. Muzaffarnagar incident, who had been a voice for ban against cow slaughter is a partner in the famous halal meat export firm Al Dua Food Processing Company. Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s family is also involved in the export of meat through Arihant Farm House Pvt Ltd. In 2013-14 and 2014-15, in its annual donations accounts report to the Election Commission, the BJP had mentioned receiving Rs 2 crore from Allana Sons Company, a leading exporter of meat.

“The Defenders of the  Cow”, worshippers and all those against the export of meat should target these companies instead of attacking and lynching Dalits who are only trying to make a living by selling the leather made from the skin of dead cattle. They should question the BJP on the donations it receives from these companies. In the Bihar elections, the BJP had used the beef issue to exploit the Hindu vote bank. Though it lost the elections, the sentiment still runs deep in the Hindu community and poses a threat to the minorities.

What happened in Gujarat is not without provocation. The leaders have been making anti-beef propaganda. The responsibility for this must be owned up by the BJP. Jailing the accused and announcing ex-gratia to the victims is not going to bring back lost lives. The leaders and religious figures must condemn these acts of pure hate and take it upon themselves to create a safe atmosphere for Dalits.

The communities that clean up the dead cattle have declared that they will not even touch the dead animal if the attacks do not stop. They have left vehicles filled with dead cattle in front of government offices as a mark of protest. This should be an inspiration to all the Dalits in India. Those who clean the streets and the drainage manholes should also join the protest. If the atrocities continue, Dalits will soon stop cleaning the roads and drainages too. Those in the Hindu society, who are on the side of democracy and justice, should stand up for Dalits. – The New Indian Express, 27 July 2016

» Mallepalli Laxmaiah is a Telugu-language journalist and coordinator of the Center for Dalit Studies. He worked with Vaartha and Andhra Jyothi newspapers before quitting in 2009 to participate in the Telangana movement. Popularly known as Dalit intellectual, Laxmaiah had taken sides with the Congress party prior to the formation of TRS government. He is currently an active member of Kodandaram led Telangana JAC. Email him at

Una Dalit Beating

Dalits protest ill treatment by leaving the carcasses of dead cows at Gujarat government offices

See also

  1. India: Top buffalo meat exporter
  2. Nothing’s Sacred: The illegal trade in India’s holy cows
  3. What has Narendra Modi done for cow protection?
  4. Meat exports are thriving under the Narendra Modi government 
  5. BJP got Rs 2.50 crore in donations from firms exporting buffalo meat
  6. Swamy urges Narendra Modi to abolish subsidies for meat exporters
  7. Beef Provocation and the ‘Intolerance’ Debate: The making of soulless Idea of India – Radha Rajan


8 Responses

  1. Himachal Pradesh High Court tells Centre to ban cow slaughter, sale of beef within six months – Zee News – Saturday, July 30, 2016

    Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court has issued orders calling on the Central government to ban cow slaughter in the country within six months.

    Further, in the order passed on Friday, the High Court directed that prohibitions be imposed on import and export of the cow/calf and sale of beef and beef products be banned – all to be complied within a period of six months.

    While passing the orders, the court rejecting Centre’s contention that the issue was a State matter and should be dealt by state governments.

    Referring to an earlier order, a division Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sureshwar Thakur said, “The directions issued by this court on October 14, 2015 to Union of India to enact law prohibiting slaughtering of cow/calf, import or export of cow/calf, selling of beef or beef products are reiterated. The necessary steps be taken within six months from today. A copy of this order be also sent to the National Law Commission for its kind perusal.”

    In its 71-page judgment, the court noted the importance of cow in both economic and religious terms. It also took into account sentiments attached with protection of the cow, considered holy by the Hindus.

    The High Court directive came in response to a plea filed by state-based Hindu organisation, Bhartiya Govansh Rakshan Sanverdhan Parishad.

    “There is no proper arrangement for food, medicine and infrastructure for cows. The cows are found abandoned, also transported outside and brutally slaughtered. There is dire need to construct modern gaushallas/gausadans to protect abandoned cows. There should be compulsory registration of the cattle as well as gausadans/gaushallas and a complete ban on cow slaughter in India,” the petition had argued.


  2. Thank you for the news about the properties of cow’s urine.

    Dr. Swamy is quite right about stopping the subsidy on the export of beef.

    Those pictures of that Congress union minister and his wife [Kapil & Promila Sibal] holding dripping beef are simply revolting. Those abattoirs should be shut down !


  3. Gold found in Gir cow urine: Junagadh Agricultural University Scientists – By Online Desk – The New Indian Express – 28th June 2016

    After four years of extensive research scientists at the Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU) find gold in the urine of the Gir cow.

    The Food Testing Laboratory of JAU tested 400 samples of the cow’s urine which tested positive for presence of gold. Test figures showed the presence of the precious metal ranging from 3 to 10 mg per liter of urine. However, the yellow metal found in the urine samples were in an ionic state, which is salts soluble in water.

    The research team led by Dr BA Golakia, head of JAU’s biotechnology department, used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method to analyze the urine samples. He told that gold from the Gir cow’s urine can be extracted and solidified through chemical processes.

    “Till now, we have heard about presence of gold in cow urine from our ancient scriptures and its medicinal properties. Since there was no detailed scientific analysis to prove this, we decided to undertake a research on cow urine. We analyzed 400 samples of Gir cow urine and found traces of gold,” Golakia is reported to have said.

    Urine samples of buffaloes, camels, sheep, and goats too were screened, but these samples did not carry any antibiotic elements. The cow’s urine was found to contain 5,100 compounds of which 388 possess immense medicinal value. Now, urine samples of all indigenous Indian cow breeds will be tested for the same purpose.

    The JAU is accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing Calibration Laboratories (NABL). The lab, which is a joint venture of JAU Union ministry of food processing industries, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), and Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation (GAIC), conducts about 50,000 tests every year on various products. These products include items of exports, dairy items, vegetables, pulses, oil seeds, honey, pesticide residuals and other commodities.

    The lab is currently working on use of Gir cow’s urine on human and plant pathogens, Golakia said.


  4. From the point of view of the cow, any alternative to Narendra Modi would be a relief.

    Red meat export—which includes illegal cow beef hidden in the container loads of legal cara beef—has doubled since Modi took office. Yet he had promised in Bihar to reduce the export of red meat if not abolish it completely.

    Dr Swamy has recently asked Modi to stop the subsidy on meat exports. That the subsidy still exists is shocking. Modi had made a point during his campaign for office, of accusing the Congress of subsidizing red meat exports and giving nothing to farmers. But he continues with the exactly the same policies he condemned the Congress government for!

    Mr Modi’s shopkeeper’s brain seems to have overwhelmed his ethical sense. He has done absolutely nothing for dharma or the cow since he has come to office.


  5. Apart from the ethical/religious questions raised around cow slaughter, I recall reading somewhere recently that traces of gold have been found in the urine of cows.

    Admin may probably know about this.


  6. Dear Admin,
    The alternative if Modi is defeated is more frightening. These aggressors who harm dalits must be kicked in their !@!! and sent to lifetime imprisonment.


  7. These self proclaimed protectors of Cow are proving to be of much greater disservice to the Hindu society than any extraneous elements. Targeting poor Dalit brothers just to show yourself to be pious hindus is in fact dividing the Hindus on caste lines. The time has come when such vigilante groups should be severely dealt with. But one thing more must also be kept in mind. The illegal cow slaughter and export largely goes on with active connivance of the administration and police. Despite being informed of such illegal movement, the police normally is indifferent, that causes further resentment and outrage among the cow worshipping hindus. So, this aspect must also be taken into consideration and strict action must also be taken against those officers who actively participate in such illegal activities. Having said that, I firmly believe that no one has a right to take law into one’s own hands, and if Hindus really are interested in protecting themselves, they must bring about a social transformation and do away with caste system once and for all. We cannot accuse anyone outside for the malice that is present within our society.


  8. Mr Modi has not kept his promises.

    Mr Modi is proving to be the biggest hypocrite of the decade when it comes to cow protection and meat export control,

    Mr Modi and the greedy businessmen of the BJP may not believe it today, but THE COW will defeat them in the next national election.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: