By Asifa Khan | Snobar Khan
On May 18, Hindutva Watch, an independent platform that tracks communal attacks in India, shared a video of cow vigilante units storming an abattoir and brutally beating two Muslim men over allegations of cow slaughter in Delhi.
A man is shown in a video pointing a stick at two brutally injured young men. One of them is seen shirtless. The person behind the camera claims, “Both of them used to slaughter cows” (yeh dono guy kaatte the). Furthermore, the person alleges that they owned this godown for slaughtering. Meanwhile, the camera person takes responsibility for giving the tour of the godown and asks other people to look after them.
The person further claims his bravery by showing that they broke several doors with their car.
Last night, a Delhi cow Vigilante unit stormed a slaughterhouse and brutally thrashed two Muslim men over allegations of cattle slaughter. pic.twitter.com/5h5pUsdKTt
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) May 18, 2023
A video shows that there are no signs of animal slaughter there and no corpses of alive or dead animals. Without any evidence, it appears that these individuals invaded someone’s property and attacked Muslim men.
It is not yet clear where the incident happened in Delhi.
On the same day, another viral video showed cow vigilantes in Himachal Pradesh’s Shahpur district attacking a helpless Muslim man. In the video, a man attacks the cattle trader, claiming that the latter gathers stray cattle and sells them. The trader is seen being slapped and subjected to verbal abuse by the man.
This is not the first time. Several incidents of Muslims being attacked in the name of cows go unnoticed, while others fail to incite public outrage and make headlines in the mainstream media. Since the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party took power in 2014, mob lynchings of non-Hindus, particularly Muslims, have been carried out by so-called cow vigilantes and Bajrang Dal members under the guise of defending cows.
The silence on several incidents of Muslims being attacked in the name of cows while others fail to elicit public outrage and make headlines in the mainstream media indicates that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has turned the cow into a political tool for brainwashing Hindus and demonising minorities.
One study revealed that 97% of attacks related to cow smuggling were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took power in May 2014. Additionally, 32 of 63 cases of cow-related violence occurred in states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the time the attacks were reported.
In the country, there are laws to protect the cow against slaughter, and part of this law is being used by Hindutva groups to attack minorities in the guise of defending cows. The special task force to protect cows in BJP-ruled states like Haryana has also contributed to increasing attacks against Muslims.
It has become more common to attack minority communities in the name of stopping cow slaughter, which indicates the laws protecting cows are actually intended to target Muslims rather than cows.
Additionally, the militant Hindu group Bagrang Dal’s activists and so-called cow vigilantes are given more power by these laws.
But there is no law to protect those who become victims of these extrajudicial acts. Likewise, one of the major incidents took place on February 16, 2023, in Barwas Village in Haryana’s Bhiwani, in which two men named Junaid and Nasir were burned alive.
Both of them were abducted by the goons of Bajrang Dal, who later set them ablaze while they were inside their car. This also took place right after the accusations of cow smuggling against them.
It has been more than three months since Junaid and Nasir were killed, but the police have only so far imprisoned three suspects, one of whom was arrested back in February.
Furthermore, right-wing Bagrang Dal leader Monu Manesar, the primary suspect in their murders, has not been apprehended.
His name was reportedly removed from the list of people sought for the murder as well.
Additionally, it has recently been observed that Manesar’s social media accounts have been active.
Another incident to remember: Independent media platforms covered another occurrence of the Mewat lynching. Hussainpur, a village in Haryana’s Nuh district, witnessed a cow vigilante group beating and abusing Warish and two other Muslim men, Shaukeen and Nafis, while Haryana police watched the video they had taken. Although it’s not clear how Waris died, Bajrang Dal asserts he died due to a car accident. Meanwhile, reports cited severe internal bleeding due to the rupture of the liver. However, Waris’ family and the other victims of the cow vigilantes, Shaukeen and Nafis, have confirmed that Bajrang Dal is responsible for Waris’s death.
On December 15, 2021, the Rajya Sabha was informed that there is no separate data on people killed or injured by vigilante groups, mobs, or crowds maintained by the NCRB.
Moreover, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said in his statement, “The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) publishes crime data received from all the states and union territories under various crime heads defined under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and special and local laws. No separate data on persons killed or injured by vigilante groups, mobs, or crowds is maintained by the NCRB.
This statement from the Home Ministry makes it abundantly clear that the central party in power is not interested in compiling information on the murders and assaults carried out by vigilante groups.