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Genuine Gau Rakshaks Fulfil Important Role, Says RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

“Cow vigilantes perform an important role and it’s important to distinguish between those who protect the cow and others who are self-appointed,” said Mohan Bhagwat, who heads the ruling BJP’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS.

Mr Bhagwat said the cow, which is revered by Hindus, is to be protected by law, and vigilantes or gau rakshakswho operate within the law perform an important service.

 Attacks, often filmed, on men accused of cow slaughter drove Prime Minister Narenda Modi to declare in August, “I feel so angry at times. Some people who are engaged in anti-social activities wear the mask of gau rakshaks.”

Critics of the BJP and RSS say self-declared gau rakshaks or squads of cow protectors, have been inflaming tensions between religions and castes in parts of the country including Gujarat, where, in July, four young Dalit men were stripped and tied to a vehicle before being thrashed by men who accused them of killing a cow. They were, in fact, skinning the cow, a demanding and poorly-paid task assigned to the lowest castes.

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