Increasing menace of illegal cow vigilantism is jeopardizing Punjab’s reputation as the best state for starting a new business. Buoyed by the lenient approach and tacit approval of law enforcing agents over the targeting of cattle transporters, cow vigilantes are now harassing the Rs. 200 crore soap industry and dairy farmers in the state.
The vigilantes has alleged the owner of 100-year-old Champa Soap Mills that he is using cow fact in manufacturing the soap, a mob of armed men broke into the Mills on 15th June.
“There were at least 200 people armed with petrol, diesel cans,” said mill owner Manoj Jain. “The police did not listen to us. They just did what gau raksha dal people were saying. We tried to tell them that we were using buffalo tallow (animal fat used in soap) which was legal… but no one cared.’
Later the factory was sealed by authorities and Mr Jain was arrested on charges of cow slaughter and hurting religious sentiments.
The dairy industry worth Rs. 2,500, where the income is generated from selling cross-bred cows, is also facing heat. Cross-bred cows fetch Rs. 1.25 to Rs. 1.50 lakh each, but now buyers refuse to enter Punjab, fearing attacks from cow vigilantes while returning with their purchases.
The industry association claims that around 30 production units were closed fearing attacks and several other are on the verge of closure.
Their representatives have met Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and the Director General of Police. The cow protection groups, they say, “are running a parallel government