Saturday, August 20, 2016

Scary Mumbai?: Cow vigilantes get suspicious over leather bag, ask auto traveler if a cow was slaughtered

Barun Kashyap
By Our Representative
In a scary incident which has sent a shock wave in Mumbai, a middle-class writer and director associated working in a communications firm was harassed by what he terms as “self-proclaimed cow protectors” just because he happened to carry a leather bag. 
The incident is particularly important, as it comes close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling 80 per cent cow vigilantes as “fake” and “anti-social”, asking them to shoot him instead of “killing” a Dalit brother or sister.
Posting on his Facebook timeline, Barun Kashyap points out how, on Friday, morning, like everyday, he started off from his home to work in an auto and how he was sought to be harassed on way by the auto driver in alliance with a few cow protectors.
The autodriver, says Kashyap, got suspicious on seeing his long hair. “I must say the autowala was quited curious and intrigued by my long hair and nose piercing right from the beginning. He asked me in english where do I hail from”, Kashyap says on Facebook.
He adds, “It took him a moment to locate Assam in his mind map, later confirmed it as the state near Bangladesh. At a traffic signal, when all vehicles stopped, he turned around again and saw my leather bag.”
Things did not stop here. The auto driver “leaned to touch” his bag and “concluded” that it was made of cow leather. “I refuted and said it;s made of camel leather which I got from Pushkar”, Kashyap says.
“The answer didn't satisfy him”, Kashyap says, adding, “As the traffic light turned green, the auto moved forward and so did his remarks on how because of people like me cow slaughter is encouraged. I asked him to mind his own business and drive me to the destination.”
“To my horror”, Kashyap says, the auto driver “stopped the auto near a small temple on the way to my office.” Before he could say anything, he saw the auto driver “signaling at three men sitting in front of the temple smoking.”
“All three men with red Tilak mark worn on the forehead approach the auto and start conversing in Marathi which I could not decipher”, Kashyam says.
“When I protested, the three men asked me to step out of the auto which I refused”, Kashyam notes, adding, “When I was busy protesting, one of the guys came to the other side of auto and started checking my bag.”
“One of the guys then asked my name... 'Barun' I replied”, Kashyap notes, adding, the guy further asked him full name was the next question. This made Kashyap to say it was ''Barun Kashyap Bhuyan''.
“The guy looked at the other two and said something in Marathi out of which I could only understand the word ' Brahmin'. Maybe hearing Kashyap, they thought I am a Brahmin”, Kashyap says, adding, “They left the site after bidding farewell to the autowala, the fellow cow protector.”
At the next signal, Kasyap says, he got off from the auto, noted the number of the auto, and asked for his phone number of the auto driver, “which he proudly gave to me saying 'aaj toh bach gaye'.”
The Facebook post ends with the remark, “Planning to go to the police station once done with work”, with commentators seeking the number of the auto so that it could be avoided. One of his Facebook friends commented, “I am just thinking, what if your name was Mohammad!”

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