Bijay Kumar Minj, New Delhi
Updated: June 08, 2021 12:38 PM GMT
Protesters in New Delhi on April 15, 2019, shout anti-government slogan and condemn a mob lynching in Jharkhand state. (Photo: Bijay Kumar Minj/UCA News)
Cow vigilantes in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have killed a Muslim man and injured five of his friends.
They attacked Shera Khan and his friends on June 2 after accusing them of smuggling cows from Kosi Kalan village in Mathura district to take them to Mewat in the neighboring state of Haryana.
Police said they found half a dozen cattle at the site of the attack and the group’s vehicles have been seized.
Police spokesman Shirish Chand said action would be taken in connection with cow smuggling.
Chand told media that Khan’s five companions are in police custody and have received medical help at a district hospital.
He alleged that Khan and his associates opened fire on villagers first and in retaliation the villagers fired at them and killed Khan before beating up his friends. Some are critically ill in hospital.
Cow slaughter may be illegal in some parts of India but these people were not indulging in that
Rights activist A.C. Michael, a former member of Delhi Minorities Commission, called on the courts to take tough action against such criminals.
“Our country’s constitution guarantees the right to live without infringing upon other people’s right to live. Moreover, the selling and buying of cows are not illegal in our country,” the Christian lay leader said.
“Cow slaughter may be illegal in some parts of India but these people were not indulging in that. Therefore, it is the duty of the administration and police to take action against those who took the law into their own hands.”
Three other attacks on Muslims have taken place in Uttar Pradesh recently.
On June 5, a group of men barged into a mosque in Greater Noida and assaulted the imam and worshippers during evening prayers.
On the same day, a Muslim boy was thrashed by Hindu fanatics for refusing to chant “Jai Shri Ram” (Hail Lord Rama) in the Bhojpur area of Ghaziabad district.
Another incident was reported on May 16 when cow vigilantes attacked Muslim meat seller Shakir Qureshi in Koad village in Moradabad district after claiming he was carrying cow meat.
Muhammad Arif, chairman of the Centre for Harmony and Peace in Uttar Pradesh, said the state was witnessing a “worrisome” increase in hate crime.
“The main reason behind the hate crime is that the present government has completely failed to tackle the Covid-19 situation in the state and it wants to divert the attention of people by playing the communal color,” he said.
“Another reason is that the state is going to have an assembly election in early next year, so the best tactic is to play the religion card and create confusion among various faiths.”
The present scenario also shows that our leadership and unity have been challenged
Mukti Prakash Tirkey, editor of a weekly newspaper on tribal affairs published from New Delhi, said that killing in the name of religion and caste is a matter of concern.
“The present scenario also shows that our leadership and unity have been challenged. It is time the government took note of it and did the needful, otherwise our secular identity will perish,” said the Catholic activist
Cow vigilantism gained widespread attention when Mohammad Akhlaq, a Muslim farmer in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, was lynched for allegedly possessing beef in his house in September 2015. However, laboratory tests proved the meat was not beef.
Minorities groups in India say that since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, such incidents have increased, with no government official condemning them.
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