Indian Style Secularism
Posted on July 18th, 2016

By Afshain Afzal

India has started a project that would soon utilize cow urine to clean the floors in government offices and other institutions. The distilled urine will be added natural ingredients such as coconut or pine oil to cover the smell of urine. As per the details published in The Economic Times, Jagdish Bhatia, head of the company linked with Holy Cow Foundation that supplies housekeeping products to government offices praised the urine cleaner and claimed, It is a great product for the health of Safai Karamcharis  as well as for the cows. It is pertinent to mention here that the cow, also known as Kamdhenu”, that fulfils human needs and described in Hindu scriptures as the mother” of civilization. Interestingly, drinking cow urine is religiously practiced in the Indian countryside and is now becoming fashion in Indian elite and nightclubs. The Times of India published story about use of cow urine for dazzling teeth and increase in the demand for ‘Gomutra Arka’, a medicine distilled out of cow urine.

If we recall, BJP’s Madhya Pradesh MLAs Usha Thakur and Rameshwar Sharma issued a statements in the past saying, stating Muslims should taste cow urine or Panchgavya”.  On the other hand, Dargah Aala Hazrat in Bareilly has passed a Fatwa” against usage of products in which cow urine is used, “As per Shariat, it is forbidden for Muslims to use any product in which cow urine is mixed. Cow urine is considered unholy in Shariat”. The divinity of cow can be judged from the fact that Hindus consider cows to be sacred animals and allow them free to roam around and eat even in densely populated cities like Delhi, where there are an estimated 40,000 set-free cows. It is on record that an Indian farmer namely Muhammad Akhlaq, resident of Dadri, was accused of consuming beef and engaging in cow-slaughter. An announcement was made on loudspeaker from a local Hindu temple that a cow had been slaughtered and its corpse was found near a transformer. Resultantly, Muhammad Akhlaq and his son Danish were dragged on the road. Akhlaq was beaten to death with bricks while his son Danish was left critically injured but no FIR was registered in the Police station.

On 10 June 2016, two Indian nationals Rizwan and Mukhtiar were forced to eat Panchgavya” (cow dung and urine) to teach them a lessonas well as to purify them. There crime was that they were reportedly involved in transporting 700 kg of beef from Mewat to New Delhi. In another incident, two sisters, resident of Pune fled their home after they converted from Hinduism to Christianity. The victims sisters were tortured, assaulted, threatened with honour killing, labelled as Ashoodh (unholy), locked in a room for several days and forced to drink cow urine daily by their parents when they started reading the Holy Bible. Despite such an inhuman behaviour, Police refused to register FIR.  One wonders Pakistan is being criticized for Blasphemy law but why no one is pushed about the cold blooded murders on the grounds of Cow Slaughter Act and divinity of the holy cow in India.

Article 48 of the Indian Constitution provides, The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”. Interestingly, the article is in conflict with the fundamental rights gauranteed under Indian constitution. Ironically, in May 2016, a division bench of  Justice Abhay Oka and Justice SC Gupte of Bombay High Court struck down two provisions of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976, which prohibit the import of beef and criminalise its possession, saying they violate the right to privacy and the right to choice of food that is guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution. The court passed orders that it will be no longer be illegal to consume or keep imported beef but upheld the Maharashtra government’s ban on slaughter of cows and bullocks in the state.

Where the constitution of the country supreme, it is equally important to honour judgments passed by various courts from time to time. It is the responsibility of every citizen of India to obey them in true letter and spirit. It is also the responsibility of the government institutions to implement constitution and the law. But something is really lagging as regard to minority rights. Although, India claims to be a secular country, where the rights of all the communities are honoured and respected but on ground, the minorities are suppressed class with no or very little voice. Ironically, Indian is also trying to become permanent member of United Nations Security Council (UNSC). One wonders with such a poor record of minority rights, how can the Hindu-styled Veto power can be acceptable to the world. It is high time that before dreaming a permanent seat in UNSC New Delhi must honour fundamental rights of the minorities and provide uniform justice to all its citizens. [email protected]

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