Actor Naseeruddin Shah said that the death of a cow is being given more importance than that of a police officer in present day India. His comments come after violence in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, in which police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was killed on December 3 following the discovery of cow carcasses in the area.
“The poison has already spread,” Shah said in an interview with Karwan-e-Mohabbat India on Monday. “There is complete impunity for those who take the law into their own hands. In many regions we are witnessing that the death of a cow has more significance than that of a police officer.”
The actor added that he feels anxious for his children in present day India. “Because they have no religion,” he said. “I had received religious education. But we chose not to give them religious education, because I feel that being good or evil has nothing to do with religion.”
However, he added: “If a mob surrounds my children tomorrow and asks ‘are you a Hindu or Muslim’, they will have no answer. I am worried because I don’t see this situation improving any time soon.”
Shah said he was not scared, but angry. “And I feel that every right-thinking person should feel angry, not scared,” he added. “This [India] is our home. Who can dare to evict us from here?”
On December 3, a mob allegedly led by members of the Bajrang Dal clashed with police officials and set fire to a police post in Chingrawathi village of Bulandshahr. The violence involved rioting, burning of vehicles and later gunfire that killed police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a student named Sumit Kumar. The violence started after the residents of a neighbouring village, Mahaw, claimed that they had found the carcasses of three cows in a sugarcane field.
Two weeks ago, a police officer said the police would focus on the alleged incident of cow slaughter and not the murder of a police inspector and a civilian. Additional Superintendent of Police (Rural) Raees Akhtar said that the “cow killers are our top priority” and that “the murder and rioting case is on the backburner for now”.
Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath claimed that the death of inspector Singh was merely an accident. On December 19, the Uttar Pradesh Police moved a local court claiming that four men they had arrested in connection with the alleged cow slaughter appeared to be innocent.
Aamir Khan controversy
In 2015, actor Aamir Khan had made comments similar to Shah’s, for which he received a lot of criticism. Khan had said he and his wife were alarmed by the growing intolerance and violence in the country. His contract for the central government’s Incredible India campaign was later not renewed.