Jammu & Kashmir: ‘Cow-protection’ Hindu group attacks family

23rd Apr 2017
Jammu & Kashmir: ‘Cow-protection’ Hindu group attacks family

By Zahid Rafiq

 

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir, India (AA): An alleged group of cow vigilantes belonging to a right-wing Hindu group attacked five members of a family, including a minor girl who suffered multiple fractures, according to police on Saturday.

Regional police chief Shesh Paul Vaid said the family was attacked by “goons” in Reasi district’s Talwara area.

However, the family said a “cow protection” group was behind the attack.

Another police official confirmed that a vigilante group was involved in the attack. The police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said six attackers had been identified in the incident in Reasi, which was about about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Jammu city.

According to victims, the attackers used iron rods to beat them up and also took away all their livestock.

Among the injured was a 9-year-old girl who suffered multiple fractures. She was hospitalized.

Naseem Begam, one of the survivors, told the Indian news channel NDTV: “They beat us ruthlessly. Somehow, we managed to flee from there. One of our children, a 10-year-old, is still missing. We don’t know whether he is alive or dead.

“They even beat our elders very badly. They wanted to kill us and throw our bodies into the river.”

The family is part of a nomadic tribe. They said they had 16 cows apart from goats and sheep in their livestock.The family was tending to their livestock when the vigilantes attacked them at Talwara area.  Attackers took away their entire flock including goats, sheep and cows and dogs.

“We were so frightened after they attacked us in darkness. We are nomads and livestock is our lifeline. We have been moving livestock from one place to another since the time of Maharajas and nobody till date dared to touch us. But these goons who claimed to be the members of some Gou Rakshak Samiti pounced upon us with sticks and rods. We screamed and cried for help but all in vain,” local news gathering agency CNS quoted, one of the injured victims, as having said.

She identified some of her injured family members as Shabir Ahmed son of Jumma Din, Nazakat Ali son of Basharat Ali, Abida Akhtar daughter of Shoibuddin and Saima Akhtar daughter of Showkat Ali.

Besides goat, sheep, the family were moving with 16 cows. “They didn’t even spare dogs. They too were taken away,” she added.

Police said a report had been filed against the attackers.

“Strict action will be taken against these goons,” Vaid told the media.

So far, however, no arrests have been made.

Recently, several reports of so-called cow protection groups have emerged spreading terror among the minority Muslim community across northern India. Some Muslims have been murdered and attacked in such incidents over allegations of eating beef or transporting cows.

Cows are considered sacred in Hindu religion.

In 2015, a Muslim man Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched over rumors of having a pound of beef in his home, and earlier this year, another Muslim man, Pehlu Khan, was killed and his associates seriously wounded while they were transporting cows.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.

Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

Additional News The Muslim News

[Photo shows Kashmiris after attack on Muslim family rearing livestock including cows attacked by Hindu mobs. Photo by Greater Kashmir]

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