- A report by IndiaSpend suggests that Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centered on issues related to cow for over eight years
- The report is based on the survey of reports in English language media available online since 2010
- 86% of those killed in the incidents related to cow protectionism, according to the report, were Muslims
New Delhi, August 19, 2017: Cow vigilantism and the violence related to it is not an unfamiliar story in India these days. But a report by IndiaSpend has highlighted the scale of the issue.
According to a survey that took into account the reports in IndiaSpend, the data was accessible online since 2010- it claims that Muslims were the target of 51% of violence that centered on issues related to cow for over eight years, 2010-2017, making them 86% of the 28 Indians that were killed in 63 incidents related to cow protectionism.
97% of these incidents, according to IndiaSpend, were reported after the Modi government came to power in 2014. 32 of the 63 cases were from the states that BJP governed when the incidents were reported. No less than 124 people were injured in these attacks, more than half of which were only based on rumors.
20 such attacks were reported in the first six months of 2017, more than 75% of that in 2016, making it the worst year for cow-related violence.
The attacks included a range of crimes such as mob lynching, murder, attempt to murder, harassment, assault and even gang rape. These attacks were reported from 19 of the 29 states of India, with Northern states, especially Uttar Pradesh and Haryana topping the list. 13 of the total 63 cases were reported from the Southern and Eastern states, with six being reported from Karnataka. Northeast accounted for only one incident, in which two men were murdered in Assam, on 30th April 2017.
“Lynching does not find mention in the Indian Penal Code. No particular law has been passed to deal with lynching. Absence of a codified law to deal with mob violence or lynching makes it difficult to deliver justice in the cases of riots. However, Section 223(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 says that persons or a mob involved in the same offense in the same act can be tried together. But, this has not proved to have given enough legal teeth to (the) justice delivery system. – India Today, 25 June 2017”
Out of the 63 attacks that were reported over a span of eight years, 5% faded away without any reports of the attackers being arrested. In 13 attacks (21%), police registered cases against the victims or the survivors. In 23 attacks, the attackers were mobs or people belonging to the Hindu groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and local Gau Rakshak Samitis.
From 2010 to 2017, which is the period being considered, the first attack of cow related violence in which four people were injured and three were arrested, occurred in Joga town in Mansa district, Punjab, on June 10, 2012.
“Led by activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Gowshala Sangh, villagers gathered in the morning and broke into the premises of the factory…The mob went on the rampage damaging the factory and setting ablaze the houses of at least two of those running the unit, Ajaib Singh and Mewa Singh,” reported The Hindu the next day.
In August 2016, in Mewat, Haryana, a woman, and her 14-year-old cousin were, allegedly, gang raped after they were accused of eating beef.
On May 30, 2017, a Ph.D. scholar in IIT Madras, was attacked for eating beef, when he was at a vegetarian mess on the campus.
33 out of the 63 attacks since 2010 were based on rumors.
In a recent case on April 21, 2017, Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Alwar in Rajasthan was beaten to death, on suspicion of carrying cattle for slaughter.
On June 11, 2017, in Rajasthan, officials of the Animal Husbandry Department of Tamil Nadu’s government were attacked by cow vigilantes, for transporting cows in five trucks, mentioned the Indian Express report. The fact that they had a no-objection certificate (NOC) and official permission from police and other authorities did not prove any help.
Massive protests have had happened in states like Kerala, West Bengal, and in the Northeast, since the Centre decided to modify an existing law against cruelty to animals, to ban sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter. The Threat of cow vigilantism, after all, has only been increasing.
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