New Delhi: A vigilante group stripped two men and thrashed them with rods and sticks on suspicion of cow slaughter and left them for dead at Kanjhawala in Delhi’s periphery on Wednesday.
The police said that the attack took place despite the fact that madrasa teacher Hafiz Abdul Khalid, 25, and auto-rickshaw driver Ali Hassan, 35, had sacrificed buffaloes on Id for which they had permission from local authorities. The two were admitted to a hospital where their condition was critical. The indecent comes a year after a Muslim man was lynched on suspicion of storing and eating beef in Greater Noida’s Bisada near Delhi, sparking a national debate on growing religious intolerance and vigilantism.
In the latest case, the attack took place when the two men and a 14-year-old boy were going to dump the carcasses of scarified buffaloes. This comes amid growing cases of violence against Muslims and Dalits by cow vigilantes across states that forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July to lash out at cow vigilantes and perpetrators of violence.
The general secretary of the madrasa, Qari Mohamma Lukman, said when the trio reached Mundka Road village, two vehicles, including a Bolero, waylaid their auto-rickshaw and thrashed the two, while the boy managed to run away and informed locals about the incident who in turn approached the police . The madrasa in Aman Vihar is close to where the attack took place. Locals said when they reached the spot, they found the two men naked with blood oozing out from their bodies.
The victims said the attackers also pulled out their beard. The victims were taken to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital with help from the police. Later, they were shifted to a private hospital.
Cow slaughter is legal only in some Indian states such as Kerala, West Bengal and most parts of the Northeast where butchers are mainly Muslims and Dalits.
India does not officially export cow meat but is one of the biggest exporters of buffalo meat—a trade that involves mostly Muslims. Rightwing vigilantes “fear” cow meat is sneaking into buffalo meat export. In the attack at Kanjhawala, the police has arrested four attackers who were identified as Raju, Devesh, Abhishiek and Navin.
They are all locals residents. “We are investigating the past records of those arrested to verify if they have links to any fringe group,” said a senior police official.
In October last year, a row erupted when Delhi Police entered Kerala House on a complaint that it served “beef” with a miffed chief minister Oommen Chandy condemning the “raid” as “highly objectionable” even as buffalo meat was taken off the state-run guesthouse’s menu.