Muslim dairy owner beaten up, house set on fire in Jharkhand on suspicion of cow slaughter
A Muslim dairy owner was critically wounded and his house set on fire by a mob in a Jharkhand village after a headless carcass of a cow was found near his home, police said.
Thirty police personnel were injured as a frenzied crowd of around 1,000, including some self-appointed cow protectors, laid siege to 55-year-old Usman Ansari’s house in Giridih district’s Bariabad on Tuesday afternoon.
“Police had to resort to lathi-charge and air firing to quell the mob so that the victim and his family could be saved,” Giridih superintendent of police Akhilesh B Variar said on Wednesday, adding around 25 people were detained.
Ansari was being treated in a hospital and his family moved to a safer location under police protection.
North Chhotanagpur zone DIG Bhim Sen Tuti reached Giridih on Wednesday as hundreds of police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel were rushed to the area.
The incident is the latest in a string of attacks, largely against Muslim and Dalits, reported from across the country in the name of cow protection.
A Haryana teenager was lynched allegedly by his co-passengers in a train on June 22 after an argument. The crowd allegedly called him and his two brothers, who were injured, as beef-eaters.
The Centre has restricted cattle trade and several BJP-ruled states have come up with stringent punishment for smuggling or slaughtering cows, considered holy by Hindus.
The opposition and right activists have accused the BJP of pursuing the Hindutva agenda of its ideological parent the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Singh and targeting Muslims and Dalits through its cattle-trade rules.
On Tuesday afternoon, villagers in Bariabad, which is around 250km from the state capital Ranchi, found a carcass that was missing its head and assumed that Ansari had slaughtered the cow, police said.
A mob carrying sticks and stones descended on his house and beat him up. When police reached the village, the crowd had surrounded the house. The mob clashed the police team and set the house on fire.
Police had to ask for reinforcements and it took them two hours to bring the situation under control, Giridih deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh said.
The violence comes less than a month after paranoid mobs lynched nine people on suspicion of child lifting in separate incidents in the tribal state. The panic was triggered by widely shared messages and videos that warned of kidnappers on the prowl.
A police probe found that four of the five Muslim men killed were cattle traders.