Divide and Rule in the Name of the Cow

Findings of Fact Finding team investigating cow vigilantism and lynching

Cow Vigilantes
Image: Amir Rizvi / CJP

In a damning indictment of the government’s failure to stop violence against minorities, especially in the name of the cow protection, a new report by a fact finding team led by the Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan has found that the so called ‘Gau Rakshaks’ are a communally motivated group that thrives on religiously motivated violence. What allows them to operate with impunity is the fact that they are well connected with ‘saffron’ groups and enjoy protection that comes with such patronage.

A delegation comprising of peoples’ representatives, advocates of Supreme Court and leaders of peasant organizations and Media persons visited Rajasthan on 6th and 7th January 2018, to expose the unabated attacks on dairy farmers, cattle traders and agricultur­al workers. The delegation had visited Ghatmeeka village, where farmer Umar khan was a resident. He was killed by the so called Gourakshaks (cow protectors). They also visited Alwar where dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was murdered and finally, Rajsamand where a migrant agriculture laborer Afrazul was burnt and hacked to death, the entire incident was captured on video as well. 

The delegation interacted with the family members of the victims, representatives of citizen groups and Police and Revenue officers. A public hearing had been organ­ised at Alwar and Udaipur. The delegation visited and discussed the details with the District Magistrates and District Superinten­dents of Police of both Alwar and Rajsa­mand. The entire report titled Divide and Rule in the name of the Cow may be read here:

Click here to read the full Report

The report also discovered several other cases of violence against minorities all in the name of India’s well documented bovine fixation. In all cases the same pattern emerged. The victim or survivor was a member of a minority of marginalized community, the police investigation was shoddy and the assailants usually got away with a little more than a rap on the knuckles while the victim or survivor’s family was harassed using counter cases and legal loopholes. The assailants were always connected to local politicians from right wing political or religious groups and close ties to the ruling dispensation at the center.

Among the 78 incidents reported, the number of total victims was 293, 29 of those persons were lynched. 50 out of 78 incidents occurred in Northern India. According to India Spend, a data-journalism website, 97% of all cow-vigilante attacks reported since 2010 took place after the Hindu-nation­alist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. Muslims and Dalit have traditionally skinned the carcasses of cows and taken the dead bodies off of the roads for decades, now they are selectively bul­lied, assaulted and lynched. About 25 of 29 persons who were lynched were Muslims. Of all victims, killed or injured, whose iden­tities were reported in the media, 53% were Muslim, 12% were Dalit, and 10% were Hindu. The most common factor among all the victims was that those killed by cow vigilantes were poor farmers. In a third of all the cases i.e., 26 of 78 cases the police filed counter cases against the victims under cow-protection laws.

The report concludes by saying, “The continuous attacks upon the minorities in the guise of cattle protection would divide the people on communal lines. If it is allowed to continue, the unity of the country in the long run will be in peril. Hate crimes are violent manifestations of intolerance against entire communities. They have a deep impact not only on the immediate victim but also the community with which the victim identifies, affecting social cohesion and stability.”

The BAA report ends with a list of the following demands from the Central Government and the State Governments:

1.   Immediately arrest all the real culprits responsible for the murder of Umar Khan, Talim&Pehlu Khan.
2.   Institute a judicial enquiry into the Umar Khan murder case
3.   Grant Rs. 1 crore as compensation to the victim’s families and allow Rs. 25 lakh to those who are injured.
4.   The Government must facilitate cattle trade
5.   The Governments that ban slaughter/close abattoirs must amend cow protection Act to purchase unproductive animals by paying market rate to the owners.
6.   Ban all the unlawful organizations comprising of cow vigilantes.
7.   Enact special and specific provisions under Indian Penal Code to prevent lynching.
The team included K.K. Ragesh (M. P. from Kerala to Rajya Sabha & Joint Secretary AIKS), Badrudduzza Khan, ( M.P. from West Bengal to Lok Sabha), Mehaboob Alam( MLA from Bihar and leader , AIKMS), Amra Ram( Ex MLA and Vice President , AIKS), Dr. Vijoo Krishnan( Joint Secretary, AIKS), P. Krishna Prasad ( Ex. MLA and Fi­nance Secretary, AIKS), Thirunavukkarassu (President, AIAWU), P.V. Surendranath (Senior Advocate, Supreme  Court of India), Resmitha R. Chandran (Advocate-On-Re­cord, Supreme Court of India), K.R. Sub­hash Chandran (Advocate, Supreme Court of India), Bilal Khan (National Organizer, NAPM), Mujahid Nafees (Leader, BAA Gujarat), Devendra Singh Chouhan (Vice- President, AIKMS), Dhirendra Bhadauria (EC Member, AIKMS), Amal (Ex. Vice- Pres­ident, JNUSU), Chhagan Lal Choudhary (AIKS, Rajasthan), Dr. Sanjay Madhav (AIKS, Rajasthan), Sawai Singh (Samagra Sewa Sangh, Rajasthan) & Moulana Hanif, Viren­dra Vidrohi (INSAF). The Fact-Finding Team was accompanied by various well-known media persons from national and regional media houses.

First Published on https://cjp.org.in/




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