Cow-protection vigilantes attack men carrying ‘buffalo meat’ in Faridabad
A group of men was allegedly assaulted by so-called cow protection groups in Old Faridabad on Friday, the latest in a string of attacks by right-wing Hindu groups on people over suspicions that they may be selling or consuming cow meat.
Police have filed cases against the victims as well as “15-20 unknown persons” who attacked them, and will investigate the origin of the meat that the men were carrying for which they were assaulted.
“We were beaten black and blue and told to raise slogans like ‘gau mata ki jai’ (hail the cow mother) and hanuman ki jai (hail hanuman) —which we refused”, said Azad, who was one of the people attacked. Three of the four victims appeared to be Muslims.
He added that the assault continued even after the policemen arrived on the scene.
“We have registered a case under sections of Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act Act against Asad, Shehzad, Shakeel and Sonu”, said ACP Mujesar Radhey Shyam. The officer said another FIR has been registered under sections of rioting, causing hurt and criminal intimidation against 15-20 unknown people.
Azad, being treated for his injuries at a hospital, said he and his accomplices buy meat from the Fatehpur Tageh area and sell it in the Old Faridabad meat market.
“We sell buffalo meat in Old Faridabad market and we do this every day,” he said, denying they were carrying cow meat.
The cow is a sacred animal for Hindus and vigilante groups that claim to be working to stop its smuggling and killing have been behind a growing number of attacks in recent years. The incidents have coincided with the growing strength of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, the political arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The PM and the chief of the RSS have condemned people who attack others in the name of cow protection.
Killing of cows and consumption of its meat is illegal in Haryana, but the law does not mention buffalos.
Friday’s attack, according to the victim, started after the group was intercepted near Bajri village on Nangla-Pali road.
The attackers allegedly rained blows using wooden sticks.