Prashant Poojary, Bajrangdal activist

Bajrangdal activist Prashant Poojary murdered

Prashant Poojary, a Bajrangdal activist who was a part of their “cow protection” teams, was murdered in front of his father, who witnessed the attack. 6 assailants on two motorcycles arrived and attacked him with sharp weapons and escaped even as he fell bleeding. His father took him to a hospital, where he later died. His father Another eyewitness to the murder later committed suicide.

I have been trolled by fans of the Bajrangdal asking me why I am not specifically objecting to the brutal murder of a Hindu who had been recruited by a criminal organization. My blunt opinion on it is that it is a sad story of gullible young and poor Hindus being misled into a life of crime in the name of pride for their religion, or protection of some specific arbitrarily assigned symbol.

The fact of it is that Bajrangdal is a criminal organization. Its members commit crimes in the name of cow protection. Assault is illegal in India. Even assaulting “criminals”. Yet these attacks are not a matter of simply chancing on a crime and thrashing the criminal in the heat of the moment, but a deliberate stalking of cattle trucks.

Animal husbandry minister Raj Kishore Singh, while replying to a supplementary question by BJP’s Lokendra Singh in the state Assembly, said: “Members of VHP and Bajrang Dal snatch cattle from the public on grounds of protecting them from illegal slaughter. They beat them up and even torch their vehicles. Ask these VHP and Bajrang Dal people not to do such activities.” He gave the example of tourism minister Moolchandra Chauhan’s daughter who owned a dairy farm and milch cattle being transported were captured by members of VHP and Bajrang Dal and the vehicle was set on fire.

Nor is it limited to Bajrangdal and VHP activities in Karnataka. While instances of assaults on cattle trucks are galore, the allegations of extortion and cattle theft in the name of protection also mount. In Punjab, the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association wrote to the chief minister saying the trade of selling milch cows from Punjab to other states has come to a grinding halt, because traders feared their vehicles being stopped and accused of cow slaughter.

VHP apparently even issues letters granting permission for cattle trucks to pass safely, as came to light last year, soon after BJP’s Lok Sabha Election victory, when Bajrangdal stopped a cattle truck carrying cattle from Punjab to Kerala. Apparently certificates from government authorities don’t mean much these days?

Bhuvith Shetty, also a “cow protection” activist, who recently threatened Professor Bhagwan had, of his own admission been to jail before for chopping off the hand of a “cattle smuggler”. Who knows whether it was a cattle smuggler or some unfortunate trucker hired to transport cattle from one place to another?

While the victims of criminals are law abiding citizens, they get cases slapped against them. When the people they attack are really criminals, they would probably retaliate – as the case seems to be. Living a life of violence would sooner or later rebound, no?

If anything, this should be a huge lesson to not become the cannon fodder for criminals using the gullible as disposable muscle. Those who incite are not going to be the ones putting their lives at risk. It will inevitably be disposable cannon fodder losing limbs in blasts, getting injured, maimed for life, spending time in jail or dying.

So, my answer to the trolls is:

Yes, Prashant Poojary was murdered. Yes it was sad, it is a crime, and it is flat out wrong. He should have been thinking about growing a business, nurturing a family, not losing his life as a foot soldier to an agenda so complex, he barely saw more than he was shown. No, I cannot carpet blame Muslims for it and provide you with further fodder for hate. He made choices and he paid for them, like any other gangster dying in a gangwar. Don’t ruin your life over it.