ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Counting Cows, Killing Humans

So this is the “new India” that we have been promised.

Pehlu Khan, the 55-year-old dairy farmer from Alwar was lynched by cow protection vigilantes—or rather lynch mobs as they should be called—in broad daylight on 1 April. His death following the attack is one more in a growing list of crimes in the name of the cow that began with the murder of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri in October 2015. Since then, in India’s so-called cow belt, the Indian cow’s rights have gained precedence over the human rights of Indians as lynch mobs track and intercept any movement of cows and buffaloes, then selectively attack only Muslims and in a few instances Dalits, killing or grievously injuring them. While this happens, the law enforcers look on. And in a hideous twist to this brutal tale, the victims are arrested while the aggressors are either let off, or charged as “unknown persons.”

Since Akhlaq’s killing, aggressive cow politics is being played out in many states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Of these, all except Karnataka are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Supreme Court is currently hearing a public interest litigation asking for a change in animal protection laws, such as the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976 containing provisions that allow cow protection vigilantes to get away with their crimes. Apart from the six states mentioned in the petition, there have also been incidents in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, and in April this year, in Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi. These last two, available on video as was the lynching of Pehlu Khan, provide credible evidence of the ruthlessness of the mob as well as the apathy of the police. The video of the attack on the nomadic cattle herders in Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir was particularly wrenching as one watched a mother trying to save her children from the mob that destroyed the flimsy structure in which they were cowering.

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Updated On : 27th Aug, 2017

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