Meet the Muslim gau rakshaks of Rajasthan's Ramgarh village

Ramgarh's Muslim villagers have been cow protectors for centuries and belong to the 'Meo' community in Muslims, which is involved in cattle breeding.

At a time when the entire nation is debating over cow vigilantism, a group of Muslims in Rajasthan is busy protecting the cows from smugglers. Though it may come as a surprise to many, but these Muslims have been gau rakshaks since centuries in Ramgarh village of Rajasthan.

In this village, the Muslim community work as true gau rakshaks. Located near Alwar, where the 55-year-old Pehlu Khan was recently thrashed to death by self-styled cow vigilantes, Ramgarh is home to dedicated ‘Muslim’ gau rakshaks.

According to reports, Maulana Mohammed Israel, the Ramgarh Jama Masjid Imam, is presently the driving force behind the cow protection activities. He claims that according to Islam, Muslims are allowed to rear cattle for their milk but not to be cruel and inhumane. The Ramgarh Muslim Rashtriya Manch have their head office in Israel, but it’s not linked to the RSS-affiliated Muslim Rashtriya Manch.

Notably, these Muslims have been cow protectors for centuries and belong to the ‘Meo’ community among Muslims. Most of the Muslim families in this village have at least one cow in their houses.

Ramgarh in Rajasthan is known for cow protection. The village is presided over by, perhaps, India’s best-known gau rakshak, Nawal Kishore Sharma, who heads the local cow vigilante group.

The village has two cow shelters, each with a capacity of 500. There are four special ‘gau raksha’ police stations in the village where the police exclusively deal with the cow smugglers.