Mobs with murder on their mind are back in action on the streets of Gurgaon, the suburb of Haryana that is a part of the National Capital Region (NCR) sharing a border with Delhi. On the eve of Bakrid, a mob of criminals who want to call themselves ‘cow protectors,’ stopped a 25-year-old truck driver, identified as Lukman, and beat him to a pulp, attacking him with kicks, and punches and hammer blows. The reason? The mob thought he was carrying ‘cow meat’. There are visuals which even show men in police uniform allegedly watching but not stopping the brutal attack, as the dazed victim almost seems to have resigned to his fate. The mob, films, photographs and continues the assault on the man, said to be a resident of Nuh, who was said to be transporting meat, not cow meat, from Ghasera to a shop near Gurgaon’s Jama Masjid.
Trigger warning: The following visual of violence is disturbing, but important to see how a mob is empowered because the police does nothing:
A 25 yo Truck driver who was transporting buffalo meat was brutally beaten up by mob in Haryana.
Victim is Nuh resident, he was transporting meat from Ghasera to a shop near Gurgaon’s Jama Masjid. pic.twitter.com/TQioGxHXiI
— Md Asif Khan (@imMAK02) July 31, 2020
The victim has serious injuries, but managed to tell those who asked, that even as he was being attacked by the mob of criminals he “begged and told them this is not cow meat. I said if it is, I’m willing to be killed right now. They kept forcing me to chant Jai Shree Ram.”
“I begged and told them this is not cow meat. I said if it is, I’m willing to be killed right now. They kept forcing me to chant Jai Shree Ram” – Lukman Khan who was dragged and beaten with a hammer at Gurgaon yesterday. #lynching #gaurakhshak pic.twitter.com/qFef80cL8F
— Nidhi Suresh (@NidhiSuresh_) August 1, 2020
Hindutva in action – lynchings come back: Man Accused of Carrying Beef Attacked with Hammer in Gurgaon, Cops Watchhttps://t.co/iqGJO85gfO
— Zafarul-Islam Khan (@khan_zafarul) August 2, 2020
According to a report in NDTV, The police were seen doing little to stop the attackers. After being beaten to an inch of his life, Lukman was bundled into the pick-up truck and taken back to Gurgaon’s Badshahpur village where the men started thrashing him again.
This is when the police stepped in and stopped them – only to find the assailants fearless enough to even take on them. Lukman was taken to a hospital and the police filed a complaint against “unidentified individuals”. The owner of the vehicles said that the meat was buffalo and he has been in the business for 50 years.
However, a day after the horrific video played out, the Indian Express reported that the SHO of Badshahpur police station, under whose jurisdiction the incident took place, has been transferred to police lines for “negligence” in duty. If the ‘punishment’ sounds gentle, it probably is. The report quotes the ACP (Sohna) Sandeep Malik, who said, “There appears to have been a bit of a late response on the part of the police team and, although it is not as if the police was standing by and watching the violence, the efforts to disperse the crowd and stop the kind of damage there was to vehicles and other things after they arrived on the scene was not to the extent that it should have been. They were not able to control the situation properly. The report regarding the matter has been sent to senior officials, and the Commissioner and DCP will decide on the disciplinary action that needs to be taken in this regard.”
Commissioner of Police, K K Rao, said such incidents will not be tolerated. “Also, any policeman or officer found to be negligent in his duty will not be spared either. In the above case, the Badshahpur SHO has been transferred to police lines,” he said.
This mob had chased the pick-up truck for a while and eventually managed to flag it down. As former ambassador KC Singh posted on Twitter it is “Not a coincidence this happens on the eve of Eid. Goons must have prepared to catch some unwary meat carrier.”
Not a coincidence this happens on eve of Eid. Goons must have prepared to catch some unwary meat carrier. Haryana Gov must act fast to apprehend & prosecute. Only way to deter.
— K. C. Singh (@ambkcsingh) August 2, 2020
Gurgaon, is Haryana’s hub of posh gated communities, and scores of multinational companies. It prides itself as an international and modern hub, but in the past has also seen such mobs target minority communities regularly.
According to NDTV, one of the assailants – Pradeep Yadav – has been arrested. The video of the incident recorded by witnesses shows the faces of the assailants. “We have identified more people,” Gurgaon’s Additional Commissioner of Police Pritpal Singh said.
SabrangIndia has extensively chronicled Hate Crimes and Lynchings in India. Since 2014, exactly when the Rashtriya SwayamsevakSangh (RSS)-dominated NDA II Government came into power, India has seen an enormous rise in the number of various hate crimes, among which mob lynching is a significant crime.
Hate Crime Watch project, launched in October 2018, that has been tracking religion-based hate crimes in India since 2009, has found that 64 per cent of cases of religious violence was against Muslims and the rest were Dalits (outcastes, untouchables) along with the Christians. (“Hate Crime Watch,” n.d.) India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the central organization that tracks crimes across the country, collates information on a wide range of crimes, does not count hate crimes–primarily because there are no specific laws to deal with such crimes. Majority of these attacks have been associated with cow vigilante groups, accusing victims of smuggling livestock, slaughtering cows, keeping beef, or just being beef eaters (Citizens Against Hate, 2017).
Violence in the sake of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is the new mantra of Indian politics. The arguments against these hate crimes are being confronted with naive ‘nationalistic’ discourses overlaid by the extremist Hindutva organisations and espoused by hatred driven politicians.
As reminded by many news reports, it was in 2017, after such mobs calling themselves ‘cow protectors’ have been launching regular attacks, that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, killing people out of devotion for cows is not acceptable.
It is not yet known if Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who heads the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state, has made a comment on this horrific communal attack.
Around April 2018, Gurgaon’s Hindutva groups had begun to intimidate and stop Muslims from praying on Fridays, in several open spaces in the city. It was reported that some of the vigilantes were arrested and then released.
A year later, in May 2019, NDTV had another report of a Muslim man allegedly being attacked, and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. He was on his way home after offering namaz at a mosque in Gurgaon near Delhi Mohammed Barakat Alam, 25, had then told NDTV that he was set upon by a gang of four to five people who knocked off his skullcap and ordered him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. He alleged that the mob told him, he was“not allowed” to wear his cap, “I refused to remove it but then he hit the back of my head and removed it and started cursing me.” It was not known if any arrests were made then after the CCTV footage was studied.