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Cow vigilantism, lynching: Why Alwar emerges as a hotspot in Rajasthan

Activists say cow vigilante groups have become active after the BJP government came to power at the Centre.

india Updated: Dec 08, 2017 09:03 IST
HT Correspondent
Alwar lynching victim Pehlu Khan’s mother Ankuri Beegam and other family members demand justice for him, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on April 19, 2017.
Alwar lynching victim Pehlu Khan’s mother Ankuri Beegam and other family members demand justice for him, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on April 19, 2017. (PTI File Photo)

Alwar has emerged as the epicentre of cow-related crimes, with activists saying cow vigilantism has risen in tandem with the ascent of the BJP government at the Centre and the state.

While cow smuggling is not new, activism by cow protection groups and cow vigilantes is. The lynching of Pehlu Khan and the killing of Umar Mohammed are still fresh in minds of the people.

Activists say cow vigilante groups have become active after the BJP government came to power at the Centre. A number of groups such as the Gau Raksha Dal, Rashtriya Mahila Gau Raksha Dal and Bajrang Dal have been involved in incidents of violence, they say.

According to the police, in 2017, a total of 389 cases were registered under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995. Of these, 259 were chargesheeted while 24 cases were closed and 76 still pending.

Alwar, Tonk lead the charge
Cases registered under Bovine Act in state 2017
In Pehlu Khan Khan murder, charge sheet has been filed
In Umar Mohammad’ killing, two people have been arrested -Bhagwan Singh and Ram Singh.

In 2015, 543 cases were registered while in 2016 the number dropped to 474.

Noor Mohammed, an Alwar-based social activist, says cow protection groups do not really care for cows but for money. “It’s a business. They want money,” he says. “If you pay them, they will let you go else they will report you to the police for cow smuggling.”

Babulal Jangid, national vice president of the Gau Raksha Dal, says cow smugglers from Alwar district and neighbouring Bharatpur transport cows to slaughterhouses in Haryana.

“Vehicles smuggling cows have to go through either Alwar or Bharatpur to reach Haryana,” he added .

Incidents of violence have been reported from Alwar as there are Hindu-dominated villages near the Alwar-Haryana border that object and oppose cow smuggling.

In Bharatpur, villages near the border are dominated by Muslim Meos, so there is no opposition, activists say.

Jangid says the cows are smuggled every day and in dismal conditions. But the larger issue is connected to the socio-economic condition of the Muslims.

A study on Meo-Muslims by the Save the Children in 2011 pointed out that they are the most marginalised in the state.