Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

Recalling cases of cow vigilantism, from J-K to Maharashtra, Rajasthan to Assam

Cow vigilantism ‘must stop’, the Supreme Court has said, and directed all states to appoint nodal officers to ensure that it does. It has also asked states to file status reports on what they are doing to prevent vigilantism. A list of major cases over the last few years

Cow Vigilantism, Supreme Cout, Gau Rakshaks, SC on cow vigilantes, Cow lynching, Mob lynchings, Pehlu Khan, Junaid khan, Mohammad Akhlaq The family of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, who was lynched by alleged gau rakshaks in Alwar. (Express Archive/Amit Mehra)

Cow vigilantism ‘must stop’, the Supreme Court has said, and directed all states to appoint nodal officers to ensure that it does. It has also asked states to file status reports on what they are doing to prevent vigilantism. A list of major cases over the last few years.


Pehlu Khan

MARCH 2017: Vigilantes attacked staff of Jaipur’s Hotel Hayat Rabbani, accusing them of serving beef.

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APRIL 2017: The biggest case occurred in Alwar, where dairy farmer Pehlu Khan from Nuh in Haryana was beaten to death by a mob of alleged cow vigilantes. Seven people were arrested, including two juveniles; five of them are out on bail. Six of those named in the FIR are yet to be arrested.

JUNE 2017: Cow vigilantes in Barmer stopped and assaulted Tamil Nadu animal husbandry officials transporting Rajasthan’s native Tharparkar breed, and tried to torch a truck loaded with cows.


Mohammad Akhlaq

September 2015: Two years after 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched following allegations of beef-eating and cow slaughter, 16 out of the 19 accused are out on bail. Three of the accused were juveniles, and were back in Dadri’s Bisara village less than a year after the incident. One accused died in judicial custody in October last year. Charges are yet to be framed in the local fast track court. Meanwhile, an FIR against Akhlaq, his younger brother Jaan Mohammad, his wife Ikraman, younger son Mohammad Danish, mother Asgari, daughter Shaista and nephew’s wife Sona was filed last year under anti-cow slaughter and animal cruelty laws.


Junaid Khan

JUNE 2017: Fifteen -year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed on board a Mathura-bound train in Faridabad district by people who allegedly mocked his skull cap, used communal taunts, and called him a beef-eater. A chargesheet has been filed in court against six persons.

JUNE 2016: A video of “gau rakshaks” force-feeding cow dung to two alleged “beef smugglers” in Faridabad, surfaced.


2015: In separate incidents, two trucks carrying cattle were set ablaze in Hisar district. In one incident, the cleaner of the truck was found murdered.


Extortionist vigilante

AUGUST 2016: Gau Raksha Dal, Punjab, president Satish Kumar was arrested from Vrindavan for a range of offences allegedly committed in and around Punjab’s Rajpura town. He and 20 others were accused of beating cattle transporters, specifically targetting “Muslims’ vehicles carrying cattle” and then extorting money from them.


Hanged from a tree

MARCH 2016: Two cattle traders were hanged from a tree in Latehar; all eight accused got bail from Jharkhand High Court in October 2016. Trial is on.


JUNE 2017: A man was lynched and his vehicle set on fire in Ramgarh for allegedly carrying beef. All 12 accused are in judicial custody; chargesheet likely to be filed soon.

JULY 2017: In Giridih, an old man was nearly killed by a mob, which burnt his house, for allegedly killing a cow; nearly 30 people have been arrested.


Dalits flogged

JULY 2016: cow vigilantes publicly flogged a Dalit family for skinning a dead cow in Una of Gir Somnath district. Following massive protests, 43 accused were arrested, but all except 11 have got bail.

SEPTEMBER 2016: Mohammed Ayub died after being assaulted by alleged cow vigilantes for transporting two animals. Chargesheet filed against 8 people, all of whom are on bail. Trial is yet to begin.


Protected gau rakshak


Gau rakshak

Shivshankar Rajendra Swami (24), an “honorary Animal Welfare Officer”, is a complainant in about 300 cases of alleged illegal cow transportation and slaughtering. He has had police protection since 2015 because of alleged threats to his life. Last month, a 50-strong mob allegedly attacked gau rakshaks including Swami in Ahmednagar district. Seven gau rakshaks were injured; police have arrested 11 persons, but the main accused, Atiq Qureshi, remains at large.


Cattle thefts


MAY 2016: ITI student Koushik Purakait lynched on suspicion of stealing a buffalo in Diamond Harbour, South 24-Parganas. One person was arrested; he is out on bail.

JUNE 2017: Three Muslim youths were lynched for allegedly stealing cows in Chopra, North Dinajpur district; three people were arrested.


AUGUST 2017: Two Muslim youths lynched on suspicion of being cow thieves in Jalpaiguri; three arrested.

POLICE SOURCES said some eight cases of mob violence linked to cattle have been reported in the 2014-17 period, in which eight people have been lynched.


Noman of saharanpur


OCTOBER 2015: 22-year-old Saharanpur man Noman died after being grievously assaulted by villagers in Sirmaur who intercepted his truck loaded with five cows and 10 oxen. Twelve persons were arrested and charged with murder. The VHP held protests at Nahan, alleging harassment of villagers, and accusing police of allowing the smuggling of cows from Punjab and Haryana through Sirmaur.



JULY 2016: Two persons who had allegedly picked up cows and put them in a truck in a tea estate near Dergaon in Golaghat district, were thrashed by local people; one of them, Jonti Ali, died. No arrests have been made in the case so far.

APRIL 2017: Villagers in Kasomari in Nagaon district lynched two alleged cattle-lifters — Abu Hanifa (23) and Riazuddin Ali (24), from another village about 2 km away. Six persons were arrested.


Zahid Ahmad

OCT 2015: Following rumours of the slaughter of three cows in Udhampur, over half a dozen Hindu men threw a petrol bomb on a Kashmir-bound truck, seriously injuring its driver Zahid Ahmad and the truck’s other occupant, Showkat. Zahid succumbed to his burns at a Delhi hospital; laboratory tests found that the cows had died after consuming some poisonous substance. Nine people were arrested; one subsequently turned out to be a juvenile.

First published on: 07-09-2017 at 05:48 IST
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