The shock and bereavement felt by Hindu monks yesterday after a temple cow was killed by the RSPCA, was today turning to anger and a mobilisation of Hindus throughout the country.
Hindu leaders are united in their condemnation. “I understand that assurances were given, both by the government department Defra and the police, that nothing like this would possibly happen,” said Arjan Vekharia, of the Hindu Forum of Britain, “It is quite unthinkable that the RSPCA entered a holy place and killed an animal which is considered by Hindus to be worthy of the greatest care and affection. It is quite outrageous that the priests were lied to.”
“Hindu leaders from all over the country are gathering this Sunday,” said Sudarshan Bhatia, head of the Hindu Forum of Europe. “This issue has incensed and united everyone. They are extremely shocked and angry about this, and the completely underhanded way it was conducted. The entire episode is shameful and I am disgusted with how our peaceful and law-abiding community has been dealt with.”
Gauri Das, head of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple, explained: “Our belief is that life itself is sacred and that we must always make every effort to prolong life. Death, even for an animal, should be met with dignity.”
The temple head further added that none of the customary last rites were performed for a cow that served her community for many years, and he is now engaged in a last-minute desperate attempt to plead with government ministers that her ashes should not be thrown into a landfill site along with other household rubbish.
“How is it that in Britain we have to have such things happen to our faithful pets, even when that pet happens to be a cow? Cows are beautiful creatures, and although they are routinely viewed as food and killed, a little dignity is all we’re asking for.”
But Hindus are not content with merely protesting and expressing their anger. “We want a change in the law,” said Britz actor Ravin Ganatra, “If the animal welfare law states that it is alright for Jewish and Muslim communities to have their own legal methods of killing, why can’t the Hindu community have a law passed that helps to keep animals alive?”
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