Satna:

Muslim Man Lynched by Cow Vigilantes in Satna, Madhya Pradesh (Representational image)

A Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district in yet another incident of lynching in the name of cow slaughter. The incident happened late on Wednesday (May 16, 2018) and the victim, Muhammed Riaz (45) died on the spot. (Some reports say that the victim’s name was Siraj Khan and that he was a tailor.) His friend Shakeel Maqbool (33) was seriously injured. Police have arrested 4 in connection with the murders and have sent them to judicial custody.

Riaz’s murder is one among the many killings that have happened in the name of cow. States like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have a high number of such murders. After the murder of Junaid, a minor Muslim boy on a train, the nation had erupted in protests against mob lynching and increasing violence against Muslims. These attacks became frequent and intensified after Hindu fundamentalist party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) came to power in India in 2014.

It is said that the group of four that included Riaz and Shakeel were travelling with cows when a group of Sangh Parivar associates attacked them. Two of them fled but Riaz and Shakeel were beaten up brutally. They were accused of cow slaughter – which was banned in many states after the BJP came to power. This ban gave rise to numerous Hindu vigilante groups that attacked and murdered Muslims accusing them of cow slaughter. In the Hindu nationalist ideology propagated by  the Sangh Parivar, the umbrella group of Hindu fundamentalist outfits under which BJP functions, cow is considered to be a holy animal.

It is said that these attacks are largely linked to the milk economy of the place. In places like Haryana and Rajasthan, where the most number of murders have been reported, dairy farming is the main occupation of people. Muslims who transport cows are attacked in an attempt to capture the milch cows which also results in the destruction of their livelihood.

Starting with the murder of Mohammed Ikhlaq in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh after accusing him of storing and eating beef in his own home, the impunity enjoyed by the self-proclaimed cow vigilante groups that call themselves gau rakshaks has shot up. In most cases, after the Muslim men are lynched a case of cow slaughter is slapped on them while the perpetrators roam free.

The Satna incident is the first cow vigilante murder that has been reported in the year 2018.