'Cow vigilantes' kill three in India

Published July 20, 2019
Attacks on individuals suspected of trading in cows have been increasing since Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, according to rights groups.— AFP/File
Attacks on individuals suspected of trading in cows have been increasing since Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, according to rights groups.— AFP/File

A mob in an Indian village beat to death three men suspected of stealing cattle on Friday in a new “cow vigilante” attack reported by police that highlights hardening Hindu nationalism.

A fourth man was in critical condition in hospital after the attack in a village in the eastern state of Bihar.

Police said three people had been detained for the killings and others in the village were suspected. At least one of the dead was Muslim.

The group had been driving a truck and were stopped in Pithori Nandlal village by a crowd who accused them of stealing cows, which are considered sacred by Hindus.

Many Indian states ban the eating and slaughter of beef. Attacks on individuals suspected of trading in cows have been increasing since Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, according to rights groups.

A Bihar police official told AFP the latest victims, who came from a rival village, “were badly beaten on suspicion of stealing cattle and died on the way to the hospital.”

As news of the deaths spread, residents from the men's home village went to the hospital to stage an angry protest, police said. Relatives of the dead beat up a man from Pinthori Nandlal.

Many of the “cow vigilante” attacks in recent years have been on Muslims and the opposition Congress party accused Bihar's state government of failing to protect minorities.

“Three people were beaten to death and are victims of mob lynching. But the government will give a different version of the incident to save its skin,” Congress lawmaker Premchand Mishra said in the state assembly.

At least 44 people were killed in cow-related violence from 2015 to 2018, according to the Human Rights Watch.

At least three other cases have been reported this year before the latest three men were killed. In May, a Muslim man was shot in the head in Kashmir state by cow vigilantes. Last month, a United States State Department report said religious violence against minorities had increased under Modi. It said Muslims and low-cast Dalits had been particularly targeted for eating beef. India rejected the report.

Opinion

Editorial

Back to bedlam
Updated 25 May, 2022

Back to bedlam

FEAR tactics have never worked in the past, and most likely will not this time either. The government’s ...
25 May, 2022

Balochistan blaze

THE forest fire on the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in Balochistan’s Shirani area is among a series of blazes to have...
25 May, 2022

Unequal citizens

INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely in the...
Updated 24 May, 2022

Marching in May

MORE unrest. That is the forecast for the weeks ahead as the PTI formally proceeds with its planned march on...
24 May, 2022

Policy rate hike

THE State Bank has raised its policy rate by 150bps to 13.75pc, hoping that its latest monetary-tightening action...
24 May, 2022

Questionable campaign

OVER the past couple of days, a number of cases have been registered in different parts of the country against...