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Increase in Attacks related to Cow Vigilantism under Narendra Modi Government: Report

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

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Cow vigilantism and the crimes related to it have topped in Northern India
The threat of cow vigilantism has only been increasing. Pixabay
  • 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.

Also Read: We need to take Action Against the ‘Communal Violence in the name of Cow’ : PM Narendra Modi

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.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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What are Tea Producers in Kenya Doing to Cope up With the Price Rise? Find it Out Here

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Kenya Agriculture
Tea is a staple drink in Kenya, though, unlike other major producing countries, it consumes far less than it exports. Pixabay

In a humming factory in Kenya’s highlands, tea is hand-plucked from the fields, cured and shredded into the fine leaves that have sated drinkers from London to Lahore for generations.

But Kenya’s prized black tea isn’t fetching the prices it once did, forcing the top supplier of the world’s most popular drink to try something new.

In the bucolic hills around Nyeri, factory workers are experimenting with a range of boutique teas, deviating from decades of tradition in the quest for new customers and a buffer against unstable prices.

Like the bulk of Kenya’s producers, they’ve been manufacturing one way for decades – the crush, tear and curl (CTC) method, turning out ultra-fine leaves well suited for teabags the world over.

Now however, between conveyor belts whizzing tons of Kenya’s mainstay CTC into heaving sacks, huge rollers also gently and slowly massage green leaves under the watchful eye of workers, all freshly trained in the art of what is known as orthodox tea production.

The end result – a whole leaf, slow-processed variety, savored for its complex tones and appearance – is still being perfected at Gitugi, a factory in the foothills of the Aberdare Range that has been trialing these teas since June.

It has been costly shifting into orthodox, and a cultural change for workers and farmers, said Antony Naftali, operations manager at Gitugi, in Nyeri some 85 kilometers (52 miles) north of Nairobi.

But the risk was necessary: prices for stalwart CTC at auction nosedived 21 percent in 2018-2019 compared to the prior financial year, underscoring the urgency to diversify and extract more from every tea bush.

KENYA AGRICULTURE-TEA
A farm worker harvests tea leaves using shears at a plantation in Kenya’s Kericho highlands, Kericho county, in Kenya. VOA

“We have relied for so many years on traditional CTC. But the price has dropped. We want to reduce the pressure… but also, to explore this new market,” Naftali told AFP.

Market turmoil

Even since prices have recovered somewhat, any fluctuations are still keenly felt in Kenya, the world’s biggest exporter of CTC.

Tea is a staple drink in Kenya, though, unlike other major producing countries, it consumes far less than it exports.

The humble cuppa is a pillar of the economy: one in 10 Kenyans depends on the tea industry, according to the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), which represents 650,000 smallholder farmers by selling and marketing their tea.

The poor returns this year sparked angry protests on estates, and tea companies registered losses.

Part of the problem is oversupply.

Higher prices in recent years spurred investment in tea planting, resulting in Kenya’s best-ever haul in 2018 – at 493 million kilos (1,086 pounds).

But Kenya also has long relied on too few buyers, shipping 70 percent of its tea to just four markets.

Its top three customers – Pakistan, Egypt and Britain – have all seen a weakening of their currencies in recent times, making tea imports pricey.

Other big buyers – Iran, Sudan and Yemen, chief among them – have struggled to make payments.

“Our key markets are in turmoil,” Lerionka Tiampati, KTDA chief executive, told AFP.

“When you cannot control the price, then there’s not very much you can do. But what we are doing is we are trying to diversify the product.”

Reading the leaves

Orthodox production opens doors to markets where whole leaf, bespoke teas and custom infusions are rewarded with higher prices, says Grace Mogambi, KTDA’s manager of specialty products, who has travelled the globe to learn what drinkers want.

Kenya Tea
The prized black tea in Kenya isn’t fetching the prices it once did, forcing the top supplier of the world’s most popular drink to try something new. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Studying samples in Gitugi’s cupping room, Mogambi reels off the qualities desired by discerning tea drinkers: Russians like whole leaves, Germans prize tips, Saudis demand jet black and Sri Lankans dislike stalks.

“Consumer taste preferences are changing. Drinkers are becoming more aware of the type of tea they prefer,” said Mogambi, clad in a white laboratory coat, before swirling a mouthful of tea and ejecting it into a spittoon.

“If I’m spending more money on a cup of tea, I prefer given characteristics to be present.”

But orthodox and specialty lines represent only a tiny fraction of Kenya’s exports, and critics say the KTDA – which accounts for 60 percent of the country’s tea production — has been slow to adapt.

The board decided in 2000 to launch an orthodox range but, by the end of 2019, just 11 of its 69 factories were expected to be producing teas other than CTC.

Some like Kangaita, a factory at the southern flank of Mount Kenya, have been cultivating purple teas – a rare specialty unique to the region.

Other craft varieties include white premium, a loose leaf packaged in deluxe pyramidal teabags.

These appeal also to younger tea drinkers, a growing market demanding something other than run-of-the-mill black tea.

“Youthful tea drinkers are definitely looking for wellness, and other health benefits in tea,” said Gideon Mugo, chairman of the East African Tea Trade Association.

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Major brands outside the KTDA have been targeting the youth segment.

Kericho Gold produces a line of “attitude teas” packaged in bright boxes, including one for “love” and another marketed as a hangover cure. (VOA)