Published: Sun, July 02, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Modi slams cow vigilantes

Modi slams cow vigilantes

Cows are held sacred in the Hindu religion. One young woman told me the murders were not how she wished to remember her country.

Shabnam Hashmi who on Tuesday made a decision to give away her National Minority Rights Award after witnessing the ongoing episodes of mob "lynchings" over hate crimes also joined the #NotInMyName protest in Delhi. "Everyone is welcome but without party or organizational banners", the invite reads. On the evening of the 22nd of June, 2017, Junaid was beaten to death in a train compartment by a mob while returning from Delhi after Eid shopping. Khan was thrown off the train, where he bled to death. Terrified of reprisals, several Dalit families refused to handle the dead cows though it meant cutting off the source of daily income.

Meanwhile, four men including a Delhi government employee were arrested Wednesday for last week's murder.

Five of the killings, nearly all of them in broad daylight and in busy public areas, have taken place in the last three months.

Mr Modi has to juggle the demands of right-wing Hindu groups intent on promoting Hindu ideology and protecting cows, and the need to promote development and an image of a modern, secular India befitting its rising economic influence.

Fear and anger have gripped Indian Muslims over the rise in attacks by vigilante groups, who roam about highways inspecting livestock trucks for any trace of cows. Four Dalits in Gujarat were brutally beaten by cow vigilantes in August of past year for allegedly killing a cow, which later investigation revealed to have been killed by a lion.

On the other side, Modi supporters have been asking the protestors why they remain silent when Indian Army men get lynched by the mob, adding that it is not that only Muslims are being killed in the country.

Earlier, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seeking publicity by criticising the violence in the name of cow vigilantism.

As many of 97 percent of these attacks were reported after Modi's government came to power in May 2014, and about half the cow-related violence -32 of 63 cases - were from states governed by the BJP when the attacks were reported.

According to the IndiaSpend report, since 2010, cow vigilantes have targeted Muslims 51% of the time. Two of his brothers were also injured in the incident. More than half (52 per cent) of these attacks were based on rumours, our analysis found.

Vigilante groups that seize cows from people they accuse of illegally transporting them, or sending them for slaughter, have stepped up operations across India in recent years, rattling members of religious minorities.

The precise categorization of a case as "communal" or not is largely up to the local police and often incidents such as lynching or similar attacks motivated by communal poison may not be recorded as a "communal" incident.

Hindu veneration of cows is an extremely emotional issue in India and has played an important part in India's last two generational crisis wars.

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