Indian man arrested over cow vigilante double murder

Published February 18, 2023
The charred bodies of two men, identified as Nasir, 27, and Junaid alias Juna, 35, were found in a Bolero car in Haryana’s Bhiwani. — ANI
The charred bodies of two men, identified as Nasir, 27, and Junaid alias Juna, 35, were found in a Bolero car in Haryana’s Bhiwani. — ANI

Indian police said on Saturday they had arrested one man over the murder of two Muslim men whose charred bodies were found in a car after they were abducted for alleged cow smuggling.

Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and their slaughter is illegal in many Indian states.

Vigilante squads that roam highways to stop the animals from being transported across state borders have proliferated since Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi became the prime minister in 2014.

The bodies of the two men — Junaid, 35 and Nasir, 27 — were discovered in a burnt-out vehicle in northern Haryana state on Thursday morning, a day after they went missing.

Both men were from neighbouring Rajasthan state and their families named five men belonging to the Hindu hardline Bajrang Dal group in a criminal complaint to the police after their disappearance.

“We have arrested one accused so far and we are searching for others,” police officer Shyam Singh told AFP.

Rajasthan police said in a statement that the arrested man was a taxi driver and was also involved with cow vigilante groups.

Hindustan Times reported the prime suspect has denied the allegation and demanded “strict action against the perpetrators”.

It added that Bharatpur Inspector General Gaurav Shrivastava said cases of cow smuggling had been registered against Junaid, while there was no case against Nasir.

Rajasthan minister Zahida Khan visited the victims’ families and announced a sum of around two million Indian rupees each while also saying the state government would try to provide jobs to one member from each family, Hindustan Times stated.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condemned the killings on Twitter and said strict action would be taken against the accused.

 A screengrab of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s tweet on the matter along with translation provided by Google.
A screengrab of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s tweet on the matter along with translation provided by Google.

Critics have accused the Modi government of turning a blind eye to vigilante attacks on minority Muslims in the name of cow protection.

Rajasthan and Haryana are among the states that ban cow slaughter, and authorities also require anyone transporting the animals across state borders to have a permit.

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