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Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP's) gau raksha vibhaag (cow protection department) member Khemchand on Sunday told a meeting of fellow gau rakshaks, from western UP, Braj region and Uttarakhand, that they should beat cattle smugglers up but not break their bones, reported on Monday.
Khemchand, the report said, told VHP workers that an "an army of gau rakshaks", including non-VHP members enlisted as volunteers, would deter any would-be cow smuggler from practising his trade.
He also had an economic prescription for the country. According to the report, he said that cow protection, instead of the government's flagship Make in India initiative, was need to save the country.
Addressing his audience, Khemchand, according to the report, said: "There was a lot of talk recently about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on cow protection. I don't agree with most of what he said, but I do agree that we shouldn't take the law into our hands. I often say to my workers — maaro magar haddi mat todo (beat them up but don't break their bones). If you break someone's bones then you will get into trouble with the police. Some people show off by shooting viral videos of them beating up cattle smugglers. There is no need for them to do that."
As reported earlier
, earlier last month, while addressing an audience of around 2,000 people, the prime minister had said that people involved in anti-social activities had donned the garb of ‘cow protectors’ as cover for their nefarious deeds. Modi, who had been criticised for his silence on the issue by his political rivals, even asked state governments to prepare police dossiers of such elements.
When asked by ToI for a clarification on his remarks, Khemchand said, "I only meant that they (gau rakshaks) should defend themselves when faced with a difficult situation. Most people don't know about the danger that our workers face. So many workers have been martyred for the cause of the cow. What else could they do when they are faced with armed cattle mafia? The only thing they have to defend themselves is a lathi and the smugglers have guns. If a cattle smuggler sustains serious injuries, even when my boys are protecting themselves, cops target VHP workers."