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Highlights

  • The Right-wing camp ready to recast 1966 event as it remembers it now.

  • In 1966, gau rakshaks held rally to storm Parl demanding ban on cow slaughter.

  • Huge event planned by RSS, VHP in memory of those killed in 1966.

In BJP-ruled India, the Right-wing is looking at the past through the Right-wing lenses.

In yet another attempt to “contest Congress hegemony” on Indian history and rephrase the way the past has been written and remembered, a number of cow-protection organisations with express or remote affiliation to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the VHP are coming together to hold a memorial for those killed in 1966, 50 years ago, in front of Parliament as they agitated for a nationwide legislation against cow slaughter.

The 50th anniversary would be commemorated at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on November 6.

Apart from top religious figures from the Hindu community, Baba Ramdev too is expected to attend the programme.

Even as the gathering is expected to be huge, an even bigger event is already planned for the 51st year of the firing incident the next year, in 2017.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 1966

On November 7, 1966, thousands of gau-rakshaks, including sadhus (Hindu saints) and other religious leaders had staged a massive march to storm Parliament demanding a law to ban cow slaughter across India.

The police fired upon the rampaging crowd that had left several dead. It also saw then Union home minister Gulzari Lal Nanda resigning.

Cow-protection bodies with remote affiliation to the RSS and the VHP are coming together to hold a memorial for those killed in 1966 in front of Parliament as they agitated for a nationwide legislation against cow slaughter.

While there is a clear rift between the Rightists and the opposition camps in the way the incident is remembered, the former consider Nanda as the hero, who chose to relinquish his office over the atrocity committed on the gau-rakshaks, and attribute it to his love for the cause.

The opposition remembers the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as the hero, who not just fired Nanda, but also did not budge to the pressure for the demanded legislation.

Meanwhile, the Right-wing camp is ready to recast the event as it remembers it now.

EVENT ORGANISED BY GAU RAKHSHAKS, RSS, VHP

The event is organised by several Hindutva and pro-cow protection organisations from across north India, including Goraksha Andolan of KN Govindacharya.

The event is also being supported by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).

Top VHP leader Champat Rai, who was an eyewitness to the firing, shared his experience with Mail Today.

“I was then a young man, a student of BSc, and was there when the firing happened. I remember Atal Bihari Vajpayee was addressing the gathering. Several people died. Home Minister Gulzarilal Nanda was a conscientious person and so he resigned, in reaction to what Indira Gandhi had committed.”

EVENT FOR NOT JUST HINDUS, BUT ALSO FOR MUSLIMS SUPPORTING COW PRESERVATION

“VHP is not just supporting the commemorative event, but we are participating in the event. This event, however, is not only that of the Hindus, but is also of the Muslims who believe in preserving the cow,” Rai said.

Rai claimed that while the memory of the event has been kept alive by certain Hindu and cowprotection organisations by observing its anniversaries in some form or the other, this year’s event is significant as it would be the 50th anniversary.

“Fifty years have passed, but not many today remember of know of the event. That is because the Congress has decimated the memories through its own propaganda and suppressed the truth. Time has come to tell the truth. We have kept the fire of the memory burning, it is time to make it into a torch,” said Rai.