NEW DELHI: The first attack by gaurakshaks under the Congress in power in the Alwar district of Rajasthan mirrored police action under the BJP government with the victim being charged with ‘cow smuggling’ and action against the mob lethargic and reluctant.

One Saghir Khan and two others were attacked for transporting cattle by a cow mob. The 23 year old youth was taken out of his vehicle and badly beaten. He is in hospital, being readmitted after his condition further deteriorated.

The initial response of the police was reminiscent of the Vasundhara Raje days with Alwar district being home to mob attacks and communally generated violence. The BJP while in govenment in Rajasthan had set up gauraksha police stations all over the state. Activists from the state admitted that the Congress response to this incident on January 1 was as callous, with the police visibly taking sides after the violence.

The All India Kisan Sabha while condemning the attack has asked the Congress government to take immediate action against the culprits. “It is shocking that the police have arrested the victim on the charge of “cow smuggling” while not taking any strong deterrent action against the culprits. Sangh Parivarhas set a narrative branding the Muslim cattle growers in Mewat region as criminals and polarise the society on communal lines” the statement said warning the Congress government not to fall into the trap.

Mewat region has been singled out with the dairy farmers facing mobs and almost continuous harassment. They had been branded as “cow smugglers” by the earlier governments and attacked for transporting cows from and to fairs after buying or selling cattle. The attacks were aimed at generating fear and ensuring that the farmers gave up their only means of livelihood, that many did for fear of their lives. Pehlu Khan’s lynching on the main highway was one of the first such incident that sent shock waves across the country.

So far the Congress government has not made its mind known on the Gauraksha police outposts in Rajasthan with the All India Kisan Sabha demanding the immediate scrapping of these. In a statement AIKS that has played a major role in mobilising farmers for their rights in the state said, “these Police Outposts are acting hand-in-glove with the Gaurakshaks and allegedly have emerged as extortion centres. The police and district administration are also unfortunately parroting the Sangh Parivar narrative and indulging in arbitrary action against people transporting cattle.”

Stepping up the pressure on the Congress for its silence on this AIKS, the kisan wing of the CPI(M) said that it was imperative for the new government to “stop pandering to communal forces and take strong deterrent action and corrective steps.” The Kisan Sabha also criticised the state government for its “passive position” on the attack on noted actor Naseeruddin Shah and called on it to “take a strong stance on communal forces and foil design to vitiate communal harmony in the State”.

BJP Yuva Morcha attacked the venue of a function in Ajmer that Shah was scheduled to inaugurate. The organisers panicked and cancelled the event. The police stood by and watched and while the official twitter handle of the Congress in Delhi condemned the incident, there was not a word against it from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, or his deputy Sachin Pilot or for that matter any Minister or party leader in Rajasthan. A well known local journalist in Jaipur told The Citizen that the Congress party had still to begin taking stock of the extent of communalisation, and effect hard changes. Is this being done? His response was, “no signs of it yet.”