Violent Lynching By "Cow Vigilantes" Forces India To Crack Down On "Mobocracy"

The violent lynching of an Indian cattle farmer by "cow vigilantes" combined with unsympathetic local police who "took a tea break" and may have tortured the man to death, has sparked a massive backlash throughout the country over the ongoing problem - resulting in the Supreme Court stepping in, according to the Indian Express

Akbar Kahn, 28, died of shock and internal bleeding after he and two other men were attacked by the gang of Hindus in Alwar district, Rajasthan state while transporting two cows on foot Friday. Villagers, who thought the men were smuggling the cows, formed into a mob and intercepted them - however at least one eyewitness says that he may have been tortured by police before arriving at the hospital

The police came to the rescue of the Akbar and made him sit inside the police van. According to Naval, he had accompanied them for most of their three-hour long journey in the area before Akbar was taken to a community health centre where he was declared brought dead.

Police then filed an FIR which clearly shows that Akbar was taken to the community health centre directly from the crime scene where he was declared dead. But according to Naval’s version, who also clicked the photo of Akbar sitting inside the police van, the victim was fine and had not suffered grieveous injuries. Naval said that he had parted his ways when the police stopped mid-way for a tea break. Naval said that he might have been tortured by the police before being taken to the hospital. -Financial Express

Local Congressional MP Karan S Yadav accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of orchestrating the crime. “Police and cow vigilantes are hands in glove in this matter. It was the duty of the police to take him to the hospital immediately. Police have played a suspicious role. This is a case of not only mass lynching but also custodial death.”

As a result of the inquiry, one police official, sub-inspector Mohan Singh, was suspended, while two other officers were transferred to another department. 

The murder is the latest in a spate of 23 lynchings over the past two months based on viral accusations circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, while cow vigilantes have been attacking people for years. 

The atrocities have steadily been mounting. In September 2015, Mohammad Akhlaq was hanged over rumors that he killed a cow and refrigerated its meat. A month later, 16-year-old Zahid Rasool Bhaat was slain by vigilante groups. In March of this year, suspected cattle traders Muhammed Majloom and Azad Khan were lynched. In April, 55-year old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was accused of smuggling cows and was brutally beaten to death. In May, traders were assaulted for alleged beef storage, and Abu Hanifa and Riazuddin Ali were killed for purportedly stealing cattle. In June, Ainul Ansari was attacked on suspicion of transporting beef, while 15-year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death by a mob after being branded a beef eater. -New Republic

India's right wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been accused of ignoring the growing phenomenon of vigilante attacks on minority Muslims in the name of protecting cows, which are considered sacred throughout much of the country. 

In response, India's Supreme Court denounced the "sweeping" incidents of lynching as "an affront to the rule of law," reports the Indian Expresswhile calling for a law to deal with such "horrendous acts of mobocracy." 

the government Monday informed Lok Sabha that it had created a Group of Ministers (GoM) under Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and a high-level committee under Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to “deliberate” and “make recommendations” for a separate penal provision on incidents of mob violence.

The committee led by Gauba will submit its recommendations to the GoM in four weeks. The GoM, which includes External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot, will examine these recommendations and submit its report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. -Indian Express

Addressing the police who allegedly "took a tea break," Indian officials have asked all states to appoint a superintendent in each district, as well as establish special task forces to gather intelligence and monitor social media content for pending attacks on suspected cattle-smugglers and child abductors. 

The Union home ministry announced that wherever it finds a police officer who has failed to comply with orders to prevent, investigate and facilitate the expeditious trial of any such crime of mob violence and lynching, it will be considered an act of deliberate negligence and misconduct - and strong action must be taken against the official involved. 

"Incidents of violence and lynching by mobs in some parts of the country fuelled by various kinds of rumours and unverified news such as child lifting, theft, cattle smuggling etc, are a matter of serious concern. Such instances of people taking the law in their own hands run against the basic tenets of the rule of law," reads the Supreme Court's advisory. 

"All state governments, UT administrations and their law enforcement agencies are requested to implement the directions of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit. A detailed report on the action taken in the matter may please be sent to the ministry at the earliest," reads the advisory sent to chief secretaries and DGP's of the states and UTs, according to the Times of India

Slaughtering cows is illegal in several Indian states, while farmers in others require a license for transporting the livestock across state borders. In two prominent cases last year, a Muslim teenager accused of carrying beef was stabbed to death on a crowded train, and a dairy farmer was killed on a roadside for transporting cattle.