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Muslim Cattle Trader Found Dead Under Mysterious Circumstances, was on Bajrang Dal Radar, Says Family
A gosala in Alwar, Rajasthan (Picture: Representational, TWJ archives)

A Muslim cattle trader was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Udupi, Karnataka. Hussainabba, the 61-year-old cattle trader whose body was found on Wednesday (May 30 2018) had been tortured by Bajrang Dal in the past and was on their radar, his family said. In 2015, Hussainabba, a cattle trader from Jokatte village in Mangaluru, had been forced to drink cow urine by Bajrang Dal workers, they said.

Laxman Nimbargi, Superindendent of Police (SP), Udupi said in a statement that the police had received received a tip-off at around 4.30 am on Wednesday that cows were being illegally transported in a vehicle. The police told TWJ that they did not know the identity of the caller. According to the police, the people in the car, including the deceased fled seeing the police. However, this does not explain the injuries that the body bore. The post-mortem report is yet to come, the station told TWJ.

It is not clear how Husainabba, who was among the people who fled from the vehicle upon seeing the police was later found dead in Shenarbettu. The police say that they came to know of the body through yet another anonymous call that gave the location of the body. Hiriyadka police was informed of a corpse lying in Shenarbettu at around 11 am on Wednesday, the NewsMinute reported. The body was taken to Kasturba Medical College, Manipal where it was identified to be that of Hussainabba.

While the police say that 13 calves were in the vehicle, nothing is known about the men who were transporting them, including the deceased. The police station confirmed that these calves have been shifted to a gosala nearby. Gosalas are cattle houses owned by Hindu trusts and usually actively managed by Hindu fundamentalist organizations like the Bajrang Dal. It is not clear how the cows ‘rescued’ by the government are being entrusted to private enterprises such as these gosalas.

Hussainabba’s brother-in-law, Shekunhi said that the deceased had a license for his cattle trade from the village panchayat and used to regularly coordinate with cattle rearers and buyers for business. He was tied-up and forced to drink cow urine by Bajrang Dal two years ago, Shekunhi told the NewsMinute, adding that the police were colluding with Bajrang Dal workers to hide the truth. ‘How else can one explain the injuries around his eyes and head?’ he asked. He also said that the deceased had a heart problem and that the death might have happened when Hussainabba tried to escape his attackers. He accused the police and the Bajrang Dal of beating up his brother-in-law.

In India, the lynching of Muslims in the name of illegal transporting of cows has seen a rise during the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule. The Udupi case bears uncanny similarity with such murders from the past. Like in most cases, no Banjrang Dal worker has been arrested. A case has been slapped against the deceased for illegal cattle trading, another common feature found in cases where Muslim cattle farmers were murdered by Hindu fundamentalists.

It has been found that Muslims whose livelihood depends on cattle rearing are regularly attacked by Hindu fundamentalist groups like the Bajrang Dal, thus destroying their livelihood and at the same time ensuring a steady supply of cattle to the gosalas.

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