Days after a 55-year-old man (Pehlu Khan) was beaten to death by cow “vigilantes” in Alwar, Rajasthan, violence in the name of Gau Raksha continues. Only in the past four days, two separate incidents resulted in mob fury directed towards unarmed civilians. The victims included elderly citizens and a nine-year-old girl; the violent mobs included people of various ages indulging in violent vigilantism and terrorism.
Jammu & Kashmir, 21 April
Three nomadic Bakerwal families were attacked by Gau Rakshak goons. This incident happened in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The family, like several in the region, are nomadic herders and were moving along with their 16 cows and herds of goats, sheep and dogs when they were intercepted by a crowd of Gau Rakshaks.
The attackers alleged that the nomads, who had with them 12 cows and four calves, were cattle smugglers. Among the people the Gau Rakshaks attacked and injured were two women and a nine-year-old girl.
Chilling video shows how a family of nomads was brutally attacked in Jammu by cow terrorists chanting "Jai shri ram" pic.twitter.com/9k3bfNxWjk
— Thatgirlinaniqab س (@zackovixen) April 23, 2017
In a video of the violence, the attackers can be seen tearing apart the makeshift shed, while the police watches and fails to intervene. The attack left some family members hospitalised with broken bones and to make matters worse, the attackers took away the family’s animals – not just the cows, but also their sheep, goats and dogs.
Five members of the family were serious injured. NDTV reported that the victims say they can’t forget the horror. “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,” said Naseem Begam, one of the victims.
Delhi, 22 April
Two cattle traders and a truck driver were allegedly attacked and beaten up in Delhi on 22nd April. The Delhi Police have arrested the men who were beaten up under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act; the assaulters themselves, however, are yet to be arrested.
The three men, who were transporting 14 buffaloes in a truck, were attacked by a group claiming to be “animal welfare activists” near Delhi’s Kalkaji Mandir area.
Cattle trader Ashu to @TheQuint :"There were 10 to 15 men who stopped our truck. They started beating us up. We only had buffaloes, no cows"
— Meghnad Bose (@MeghnadBose93) April 23, 2017
The three men were transporting buffaloes in a truck. They hailed from Haryana and were in their 20s. They were assaulted by 15 men. Beaten up harshly, they were transported to the AIIMS Trauma Centre by the Police when they found them. The cattle traders have been identified as Ashu and Kamil while the driver of the truck has been identified as Rizwan. They sustained many injuries; Ashu even had a bleeding cut below his left eye.
Exclusive: Cow vigilantes beat up 3 men in Delhi. Ashu,the cattle trader is bleeding under his eye & says that he was transporting buffaloes pic.twitter.com/CPGRLB4dBB
— The Quint (@TheQuint) April 23, 2017
R Baaniya of the Delhi Police told ANI: “Three people took buffaloes for legal slaughter where PFA (People for Animals) entered into a scuffle. Not Gau Raksha Dal, they were members of an NGO which has been working for many years in Delhi.”
The Logical Indian Take
You cannot take the law on into your own hands.
This cannot be stressed enough: You cannot take the law into your own hands. We have law enforcement officials to enforce the law and the courts to interpret it. Vigilantes are not heroes; they are goons who should be punished for taking the law into their own law-breaking hands.
In the Delhi case, the cattle transporters were transporting buffalos, not cows. And the victims of the cowardly attack have been charged while the perpetrators are yet to be charged – this is unacceptable. Authorities should arrest the 15 attackers and punish them for physically injuring three citizens.
The terrorists who attacked the family in Kashmir should be punished immediately. In this case, it has come to light that some members of the nomad group were travelling without a valid trading license – it goes without saying that they must be punished accordingly too.
But make no mistake: the greater problem here is that group of ruffians who indulged in vandalism and violence, who deemed it within their rights to terrorise people, assault women, maul old men, and hurt a nine-year-old girl.
There is no universally accepted definition of the words “terrorism” and “terrorist”. But this definition by Daniel Novotny is apt and concise: “An act is terrorist if and only if (1) it is committed by an individual or group of individuals privately, i.e. without the legitimate authority of a recognised state; (2) it is directed indiscriminately against non-combatants; (3) the goal of it is to achieve something politically relevant; (4) this goal is pursued by means of fear-provoking violence.”
The goons who attacked citizens in Kashmir and Delhi outnumbered them, employed fear and indiscriminate violence against unarmed civilians, acted on their own accord – that is, outside the purview of the law, law enforcement, and the government, and injured many individuals in the process of imposing their authority.
The goons were not merely vigilantes or rowdies; they were terrorists. Let us call a spade a spade and not mince words. Such terrorists should be punished swiftly and surely before the atmosphere of fear they seek to create diminishes the authority of the law and breeds more violence and hatred.