Pawan Pandit is a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member and Chairman of Bhartiya Gau Raksha Dal (BGRD), a cow militia federation. BGRD is affiliated with the RSS. He is a part-time computer program engineer.
Pandit calls himself a “radical Hindutva” man. Founded in 2012 as a company and registered with the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the main objective of the BGRD, according to its website, is “to care for stray, abandoned cows, bulls, retired oxen, and orphaned calves.”
The BGRD, whose head office is in East Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar, has 6,000 full-time members, mostly Brahmin men, and has set up cow militia units in states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Gujarat. Some of its members have committed brutal attacks against Muslims and Dalits over rumors that they sold, bought, or killed cows for beef.
Pandit and his organisation have supported the Hindu cow vigilantes who lynched Mohammad Akhlaq over the suspicion of consuming beef.
“If a cow is being slaughtered, you should know that the foundation of the country is being slaughtered,” he told The Mint.
For Pandit, the “life of a cow is more precious than the life of a human being.”
In 2017, while justifying the lynching of Pehlu Khan, Pandit said: “Today, there is a unified voice from every corner of India that wants cow slaughter banned. Why are some people not listening to this voice? Why is the media not representing the voice of the people?”
He considers Muslims enemies of the country: “A Gau Rakshak’s (cow protector’s) life and the life of an army man working on the border is equal. We also work on the (state) borders. They fight against enemies outside the country, and we fight enemies within.”