From the streets of Korba, Chattisgarh to Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, and from Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh to Chamba, Uttarakhand, a wave of alarming anti-Muslim violence has been sweeping across India. Perpetrated by members of the Bajrang Dal militia, these incidents reveal a distressing pattern of targeted attacks against Muslims. The incidents also shine light on the distressing trend of religious intolerance and discrimination. These incidents, occurring in various cities, highlight a deeply concerning threat to communal harmony and the urgent need for immediate action to protect minority communities from violence.
One such incident unfolded in Korba, Chattisgarh, where members of the Bajrang Dal ruthlessly assaulted a man on the mere suspicion of storing or selling beef.
According to local news media, The Sootr, Rajesh Mochi and his family were distraught when they discovered the alleged cow meat in their own house after Bajrang Dal created a ruckus. As the news spread, the Bajrang Dal members created a significant uproar and engaged in a physical attack on Rajesh’s wife and son. They also mentioned the discovery of the alleged cow meat to the police. The police intervened and have now registered a case, indicating their intention to investigate.
In Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, the Bajrang Dal struck again, targeting three Muslim truck drivers and two cleaners. The victims were brutally thrashed, their only “crime” was the transportation of animal remains to a factory in Delhi’s Ghazipur area, where cat and dog food is produced. The working-class Muslim citizens were seen being beaten brutally without any intervention or help to the victims. It is interesting to note that the police, in a statement on Twitter, have stated that charges have been registered with regards to the incident related to meat, and assured that there would be further enquiry. There is no mention, despite evidence of the same, of the violence meted out by Bajrang Dal members.
According to the Times of India, the police have stated the trucks were discovered to be transporting animal remains. Suspicions arose that the occupants of these trucks were transporting cow meat, leading to their violent assault. The meat samples were sent for examination. The individuals who were attacked were identified as Yasin, Saddam, Zubair, Rashid, and Salim. They were charged under Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to causing harm or killing cattle or any animal, regardless of its value, as well as relevant provisions of the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.
The police explained that the five young men claimed the remains were from animals sacrificed during the Eid festival on Thursday. They asserted that the flesh and bones were being transported to a factory in Ghazipur, Delhi, where they are used in the production of cat and dog food.
03 कैंटर ट्रक से अवशेष पशु मांस बरामद होने के सम्बन्ध मे थाना क्रासिंग रिपब्लिक पर अभियोग पंजीकृत कर लिया गया है। पूछताछ हेतु थाना लाये गये ड्राइवर द्वारा बताया गया कि यह अवशेष ठाकुरद्वारा मुरादाबाद व हापुड से लोड किये थे जिनको वह गाजीपुर मंडी लेकर जा रहे थे।बाइट -ACP वेव सिटी pic.twitter.com/VH1MfrWLJG
— DCP RURAL COMMISSIONERATE GHAZIABAD (@DCPRuralGZB) June 30, 2023
Location: Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh
Bajrang Dal militia members thrashed Muslim men in front of police over suspicion of carrying beef. pic.twitter.com/vnwzWpxGyG
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) July 1, 2023
Khandwa, in Madhya Pradesh too witnessed yet another shocking act of violence as members of the Bajrang Dal militia mercilessly thrashed Muslim men on the day of eid-ul-adha as police stood by watching. The assault was based solely on the suspicion that these two men were carrying beef. By being done in the presence of the police, the act demonstrates the impunity afforded by these attackers and the failure of law enforcement to protect citizens from targeted violence. According to HindutvaWatch’s Twitter account, an FIR has been filed by the victims.
FIR filed by the Muslim victims. pic.twitter.com/HNWjQFxpOM
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) July 1, 2023
Ensuring that sentiments are constantly doused in communal hate, a Bajrang Dal leader in Chamba, Uttarakhand delivered a hate-filled speech, explicitly targeting Muslims. The leader not only propagated discrimination but also justified calls to deny Muslims the right to rent homes and shops, further deepening divisions within the community.
In 2021, India slipped to 67 on freedom rank index, and is noted to be declared as only ‘partially free’. In fact, India performed worse on the Quality of Life aspect and ranked lower than its South Asian neighbours. The Bajrang Dal has a history of violence. In fact, in the 2022 Karnataka election manifesto, Congress had proclaimed that it would ban the organisation. The CIA in 2018 had declared the Bajrang Dal a ‘militant religious organisation’.
These incidents shed light on the rampant anti-Muslim sentiment prevailing within certain sections of society, perpetuated by the actions of the Bajrang Dal militia. Muslims, Dalits and Tribal people have been subjected to violence, humiliation, and discrimination solely because of their religious identity or caste location. It is ironic to note that the culprits have not been arrested, neither has the violence been investigated – it is in fact the victims and survivors who are in turn being prosecuted.