Two youths, suspected to be cow thieves, have been lynched to death in Dhupguri of Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal on 27 August, reported The Indian Express. The victims of the mob lynching hailed from Dhubri district in Assam and Patlahawa village in Coochbehar.
The police have identified the two youths as Hafizul Sheikh (22) and Anwar Hussain (20).
The victims were travelling in a pickup van carrying seven cows through Dadan -II village at 3:30 am. The van had lost its way and kept encircling the area for some time. The villagers awoke on account of the noise, tried to stop the vehicle, but it fled past them.
However, the locals blocked the road and forced the van to stop. Two of the passengers were caught by villagers, but the driver of the van was able to escape.
Villagers then questioned the two for some time and then lynched them to death suspecting them to be cow thieves.
The bodies were recovered by the police and then taken to a local hospital where they were declared brought dead.
The police were not sure if the two youths who have been lynched to death were cow thieves in reality or were mere cattle traders. “When youths failed to explain why they were roaming in the village in odd hours – the angry villagers lynched them on suspicion of cow thieves,” a senior police officer reportedly said.
Three have been detained in the case, and the search for the accused is still on.
The Logical Indian Take
Violence by the self-appointed cow-vigilantes has been on the rise in the recent past. Despite the outrage caused by “targeted lynchings” and assaults and the citizens’ march across the country – Not In My Name – in hopes that people will be made aware of the crimes, there is no sign of these reducing.
The perpetrators need to be staunchly informed that such acts favour no one, but are only executed to satisfy false pride.
Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke against the lynchings, terming them as “unacceptable” in the land of nonviolence and Gandhi, it is important to understand that mere statements without being backed by actions are of no use.
Situations have come down to this level that, the Maharashtra police on 24 August started a 24X7 helpline—9503511100—to ensure protection to transporters carrying cattle ahead of Bakri Eid on 2 September.
We have witnessed how hostility against the Muslim community and Dalits over minor suspicion of cow smuggling has spread like wildfire. When an animal, though given the status of an endeared deity, is respected more than human life itself, we, as human beings, have failed.
We need to understand the repercussions of such crimes instead of blindly supporting them just out of respect and love for cows. If on a mere suspicion people are being attacked and killed, we too can be assaulted any time, anywhere.
The need of the hour is not for people to unite to kill, but to come together to save the innocents who are being targeted; and in this endeavour, both citizens and the government needs to come together. Lack of legal action against these criminals is giving them the impunity to act as they deem fit.
The Logical Indian urges both the centre and the states to take stringent actions against cow vigilantes. Mob violence has increased manifold in the last months, and the only way to stop the crimes is to bring the criminals to justice. Law and order need to be upheld to ensure that the safety of citizens is not compromised. Lynchings and mob justice are huge threats to democracy; only by taking strict action against such goons can we ensure that the rule of law is upheld