Many cow protection groups in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Karnataka have registered themselves as “companies” under the Companies’ Act, and are giving salaries to the vigilantes.
Gau Bachao Kranti (save cow revolution), a group registered under the Companies Act in UP, has around 8,000 full-time members, who have been given identity cards by the organisation.
Jagat Pratap, president of Gau Bachao Kranti, said: “We don’t take the law in our hands; we only ensure that traders, in the name of trading, do not transport cows for slaughter. We have saved thousands of cows which were being transported from the different parts of UP.”
Pratap said that his organisation gives salary to its members for working as cow vigilantes. “Our organisation gives Rs 5,000 to each member working as a cow protector.”
Gau Sanrakhsak Manch, another organisation with almost 6,000 full-time members, is registered in Rajasthan. Rajveer, president of the Gau Sanrakhsak Manch, said: “We won’t let any community eat up our mother. We will fight till death to stop cow slaughter in Rajasthan.”
Santosh, a member of the Gau Sanrakshak Manch, said: “I joined the group to earn a few bucks and help run my family.” In March, in Gurgaon alone, eight cases of violence by vigilante groups were reported to police.
However, Praveen, secretary of the Gau Rakshak Dal, in a telephonic conversation with The Sunday Guardian, denied his organisation’s role in any violence. “We work for the protection of cows and we have no intention to incite any violence or harass anyone.”