The violence against two Muslim women in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday has brought the issue of cow vigilantism and right wing extremism into the centre. The most grotesque picture of this convoluted idea of protecting the cows surfaced when Mohammad Akhlaq, a resident of Dadri in Uttar Pradesh was lynched in broad daylight over suspicion of storing beef at his house.
In this current incident, women have become a target of cow vigilantes for the first time, increasing the danger and extent of such activities. The women were allegedly carrying 30 kilograms of meat which, after primary testing, was confirmed to be that of buffalo. However, bringing buffalo meat in Madhya Pradesh without permission is illegal and thus both of them were taken into custody.
On the other hand, no action was taken against those who attacked these women at Mandsaur railway station even when they can be seen beating, punching and slapping the women in video recorded by passers by. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister did hint that appropriate action will be taken but BJP MLA Yashpal Sisodia told news agency ANI that those women were criminals and it was other women who beat them up. “It is a reaction to an action,” he said.
Lets take a look at similar instances in past:
Perhaps the most gory of all cow vigilante incidents came to light is lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq who was attacked by a mob in Dadri, UP, dragged out of his house and beaten to death in front of his family including his wife and daughters. Reportedly, the mob had attacked Akhlaq’s house after an annoucnement was made from a temple speaker that one of the villagers had killed a calf and was storing its meat in their house.
Kerala House beef row
Around 20 Delhi Police officers reached Kerala House canteen in Delhi after a tip-off from Hindu Sena leader Vishnu Gupta who alleged that beef was being served on the restraunt menu. Kerala House, however, said that it was buffalo meat which they were serving and had named it ‘beef’ in the menu. The action led to a war of words between Kerala CM Oommen Chandy, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Centre.
Madhya Pradesh train incident
In another incident that took place in January 2016, a Muslim couple among others was assaulted by seven members of Gau Raksha Samiti at Khirkiya railway station of Madhya Pradesh over suspicion of carrying beef. 43-year-old Muhammad Hussain accused Samiti members of misbehaving with her wife and assaulting him when they resisted.
Una Dalit incident
Four Dalit youth were stripped, thrashed with steel canes and their video was recorded by Gau Raksha Samiti members in Gujarat and the video of this incident went viral on social media. This led to massive protests throughout the country by members of Dalit community. Similar videos from the state showing atrocities against Dalits after this incident.
Forced feeding of cow dung
Earlier in July, two men were forced to eat a mixture of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee in Haryana over suspicion of transporting beef. In a video, the men were seen sitting on the road trying to force the cow dung mixture down their throat with help of water while they puked. The Gau Rakshaks were also heard asking the men to shout ‘bharat mata ki jai’ and ‘jai shri ram’.