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Sacred Chow

In India, Hindu vigilantes are attacking Muslims in the name of protecting cows. So why won’t the government stop them?


THE FOR HEIFER WAR Members of a vigilante group on a patrol for smugglers in Ramgarh, India, in November 2015.

IN A BARN IN HARYANA, A STATE in northwest India, more than a dozen men are preparing for a night they might not survive. Around them stand injured heifers, many with broken limbs. The air reeks of urine and feces, and in a bowl on the ground, maggots writhe in rotting flesh a vet has cut from one of the cow’s wounds.

The men, however, are unfazed. They call themselves the Gau Putra Sena, or the Son of Cow army, and their life’s mission is to protect cows. In front of them stands their leader, a Hindu militant named Sampat Singh. Tonight, he’s dressed in white and showing me two snub-nosed pistols under the dim lights. Soon he and his group will cluster along the nearby highways, stopping and inspecting trucks that might be carrying cows to slaughter. If the drivers refuse to cooperate, the vigilantes will chase them down and force them to stop—even if it means opening fire.

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PAIN KILLERS How the VA fueled The Opioid Crisis and destroyed the lives of thousands of vets. Suicides are the widespread despair behind them are yet another tragic element of a national opioid crisis blamed for most of the sixty four thousand fatal drug overdoses a year. Opioids, mostly illegally obtained counterfeit pills and heroin, now account for 63 percent of all drug deaths in the U.S., with fatalities climbing at an astounding rate of nearly twenty percent a year. In fact, the estimated number of drug deaths in 2016 topped the total number of soldiers killed in the Iraq and Vietnam wars.