Yet another Muslim killed by Hindu mobs for ‘cow crime’

29th Jun 2018
Yet another Muslim killed by Hindu mobs for ‘cow crime’

Sajeda Haider

Yet another Muslim has been beaten to death in India by Hindu mob for no apparent reason except that he was a Muslim.

Qasim Qureshi, 45, was beaten to death in a sugar cane field in Hapur district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. His companion, 65-year-old Samiuddin, was also beaten mercilessly by the same mob and is currently in a critical condition.

Qasim’s family insist that he was killed by cow-vigilantes, but the police claim that the murder was a result of road rage.

The horrific incident has been videoed and has gone viral on social media. It shows Qureshi’s lying in a field, his clothes torn and bruises across his body, pleading for water. A group of men stand in the background watching. A voice is heard asking the people to calm down as they had already beaten the man and requests the mob to give Qasim some water. Soon after, another person is heard saying that cows were tied in the fields ready for slaughter.

“They did not give him water because he was a Muslim,” said Mohammed Salim, Qureshi’s younger brother who is shocked by what he has seen in the video.

Qureshi’s family say that on June 18 at about 11 am, he received a phone call after which Qasim took around Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 in cash and left the house saying he would return by 4 pm.

“He used to go to neighbouring villages to buy and sell cattle and we thought the call must be regarding his business,” says his daughter-in-law Arshi. That was the last the family saw Qasim alive. A few hours later two men came to the house to inform the family that he had been assaulted and taken to a hospital. He was declared dead on arrival.

Slaughtering cows for consumption or eating beef is a crime in many states of India.

Ever since the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come to power in India in 2014, groups of young Hindu men are going on the rampage assaulting and killing Muslims on the pretext of committing ‘cow-related’ crimes. There is no evidence of a crime having been committed, but mob lynching takes place on the basis of rumours and ‘suspicions’. The self-styled ‘cow-protectionists’ are not touched by the police as they have protection from the ruling BJP.

Between 2012 and 2017, 29 people have been killed in ‘cow-related’ hate crimes, 25 of them have been Muslims. Prior to 2012, no cow-related crimes had been registered despite the legal ban on cow slaughter being in place for decades.

The Indian Government does not record hate crimes or cow-related crimes separately, but according to a non-profit organisation called India Spends, there have been 78 such cases reported from across the country from 2012 and 2017. Of these incidents, 97% have occurred in the last three years since the BJP and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, assumed power.

In a third of the 78 incidents, the police have filed cases against the victims under cow protection laws, while the murders are generally written off having been committed by anonymous mobs. While a few youths have been arrested they are released on bail or let off for ‘lack of evidence’. Not a single conviction has taken place yet.

During last Ramadan, a 16-year-old boy, Junaid Khan was mercilessly beaten up and killed on a train as he was returning home after doing his Eid shopping with his brother. The mob who killed Junaid called him a ‘beef eater’, an abuse against Muslims now, as they attacked him. Police tried to pass that off as the result of a scuffle for seats.

There were massive ‘Not in my name’ protests from civil society after Junaid’s murder, but the Prime Minister did not utter a word of condemnation and has not done so for any of the other cow-related lynchings. This has emboldened the cow vigilantes to carry on with their killing spree. The police now give the incidents the colour of normal crimes rather than hate crimes, and the deaths stop making news headlines.

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