Patriarchy and Cow Vigilantism: Gau Rakshaks Say They Would Have Killed If Victims Were Men

Patriarchal protectionism spared the lives of the two women in Madhya Pradesh who were assaulted for allegedly carrying beef.

Credit: PTI

Credit: PTI

The Muslim women who had, on Tuesday, been beaten up in Madhya Pradesh by gau rakshaks for allegedly carrying beef, might have been lucky to have escaped. In a report by the Indian Express, the men who assaulted the women allegedly threatened them by saying, “If you were men, we would have killed you. We are sparing you because you are women.”

The women were beaten and kicked for about half an hour at the Mandsaur railway station, based on rumours that they were carrying beef to sell. Nearly 30 kg of meat was found with them.

“We pleaded with them that it’s pada (buffalo calf) meat and not cow meat, but they did not listen and kept beating us,’’ said the two women. The gau rakshaks had apparently accused one of the women of faking her injuries and continued attacking her, the Indian Express wrote.

They received bail on Wednesday night, only when it was established that the meat they were carrying was not beef by a doctor. They were arrested nonetheless for not having a license to sell the meat. The women claim that they regularly brought buffalo meat from Jaora, and the police reportedly said they were traders.

The incident featured as a point of conflict in the Rajya Sabha, with BSP’s Mayawati demanding why Dalits and Muslims should continue to suffer in the name of cow protection. After the incident, the police registered a case against the gau rakshaks who assaulted the women, but they were immediately released on bail, on Thursday.