Last month, a mob of about 200 cow protection vigilantes have beaten a Muslim man to death for transporting cattle in northern India. The cow protection vigilantes surrounded six vehicles carrying cattle on a highway connecting Jaipur to New Delhi on Saturday. They pulled out five men and beat them, said Rahul Prakash, superintendent of the police in Alwar — a city about 30 miles from the site of the attack — in Behror. The mob was so agitated that the police had to use force to disperse it, Mr. Prakash said.
One of the men, Pehlu Khan, died of his injuries. Two criminal cases have been filed: one against Mr. Khan and his relatives on charges of cow smuggling; and the other against members of the cow protection group who have been charged with murder. According to officials from Mr. Khan’s village, cows were transported for use in a dairy not for slaughter. Slaughter is illegal in Rajasthan, the state where the attack happened. In Hinduism, the cow is revered as the source of food and symbol of life and may never be killed. The cow remains a protected animal in Hinduism today and Hindus do not eat beef. Most rural Indian families have at least one dairy cow, a gentle spirit who is often treated as a member of the family.
Mohsin, the local leader in Jaisinghpur, the village in the northern state of Haryana where Mr. Khan and his relatives lived, said the family had received all the necessary permission to transport dairy cows from Jaipur to Jaisinghpur for sale. It isn’t illegal to transport dairy cows with official permission. At least 10 Muslim men have been killed in similar incidents across the country by Hindu mobs on suspicion of eating beef or smuggling cows in the last two years.
Those killing are the consequence of more and more present religious tensions over the treatment of cows. Two Muslim men have been lynched on Sunday by a mob which accused them of trying to steal cows for slaughter. Abu Hanifa and Riyazuddin Ali are identified as victims of Sunday’s attack and “they were chased and beaten with sticks by villagers who said the two men were trying to steal cows from their grazing field,” senior police official Debaraj Upadhyay said. A murder case has been registered and two people have been detained for questioning, police said.
The Human Rights Watch report says that since the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came in power in 2014, attacks against Muslims and Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) have raised over rumors that they sold, bought or killed cows for beef. The cow protection groups, known as gau rakshak, carry out violent attacks on Muslims and, more recently, low-caste Hindus suspected of slaughtering cows — which are considered sacred in Hinduism.
Photo Credits: Cowism