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26 Cases Of Cow-Related Violence In 7 Months Of 2017, Equalling 2016 As Worst Year

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There have been 26 incidents of cow-related violence in 118 days since 55-year-old Pehlu Khan died after a mob attack on April 1, 2017, according to an IndiaSpend database that records such violence in India. We have now recorded as many as 70 cases of cow-related violence over eight years.

 

Created through a collection and content analysis of reports in the English media, the database shows that 97% (68 of 70) of such incidents were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in May 2014. More than half or 54% of the cow-related violence–38 of 70 cases–were from states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), when the attacks were reported, revealed our analysis of violence recorded until July 27, 2017.

 

The data show that Muslims were the target of 51% (36 of 70) cases of violence centred on bovine issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 86% (24 of 28) killed in 70 incidents.

 

As least 136 people were also injured in these attacks, and more than half (54%) of these attacks were based on rumours, our analysis of the IndiaSpend database revealed.

 

Despite the increase in violence related to bovine issues, particularly over the last three years, the ministry of home affairs does not collect data on lynchings, said this government statement to the Lok Sabha (parliament’s lower house) on July 25, 2017.

 

National or state crime data do not distinguish general violence from cow-related attacks and lynchings, so the IndiaSpend database is the first such statistical perspective to a growing national debate over such violence.

 

In nearly half the attacks (49%), police registered cases against victims

 

Of 70 attacks over eight years, 68 (97%) occurred, as we said, after Modi’s government came to power (2014-2017), with number of attacks reported in seven months in 2017 on par with the number of  cow-related violence incidents reported in 2016 at 26.

 

In nearly half or 49% (34 attacks) of cases reported, police registered cases against victims/survivors, an analysis of our cow-related-violence database revealed.

 

The police response is contrary to the Prime Minister’s recent rhetoric against violence perpetrated in the name of cow protection.

 

On June 29, 2017, a day after protests in Indian cities, London and New York against the government’s slow response and silence after nationwide attacks against mostly Muslims and Dalits, Modi, speaking at the centenary celebrations of Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat, said:

 

“Killing people in the name of gau bhakti (cow worship) is unacceptable. This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve of.”

 

“No one has the right to take law into his/her hands. We belong to a land of non-violence. Violence is not the solution to any problem.”

 

“No one spoke about protecting cows more than Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinobha Bhave. Yes it should be done,” the prime minister said. He ended the statement saying, “Let’s all work together. Let’s create an India our freedom fighters would be proud of.

 

 

A day before the start of the monsoon session in Parliament on July 15, 2017, the prime minister, at an all-India meeting of the BJP, once again criticised cow vigilantes and put the onus on state governments to stringently act against them. He said:

 

 

“We believe cow is our mother, she is tied to people’s emotions. But it must be understood that there are laws to protect cows and there is no option to break it,” the prime minister tweeted on July 16, 2017.”

 

 

“In the name of cow-protection, some anti-social elements are trying to spread chaos. People are taking advantage of this to spoil the fraternal spirit of this country.”

 

 

“This is impacting the country’s image. State governments should take strict action against such anti-social elements.”

 

Offences promoting enmity between different groups up 41% over last 3 years

 

As many as 1,235 cases related to offences promoting enmity between different groups–under section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, etc.) and 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) of the Indian Penal Code–were reported during 2014-16, according to a July 25, 2017 Lok Sabha reply to a question on lynchings.

 

“[Under sections 153A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code] the National Crime Records Bureau [NCRB] maintains data on offences promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth etc… However, it does not maintain data on cases relating to cow ‘vigilantes’, cow trade and trafficking,” Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, minister of state for the home ministry, told the Lok Sabha in his reply.

 

“Offences promoting enmity between different groups” increased 41% over three years to 2016, rising from 336 to 475. Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’s most-populous state, reported the most (202) cases, registering a 346% increase, from 26 in 2014 to 116 in 2016. UP was followed by Kerala (151), Karnataka (114), Telangana (104) and Maharashtra (103), among the top five states, over three years.

 

Cases in Uttarakhand increased at the greatest rate nationwide, 450%, from four in 2014 to 22 in 2016.

 

Source: IndiaSpend database

 

The government also said that there is no proposal to promulgate a law against lynching.

 

With mob violence in the name of cow protection rising, the National Campaign Against Mob Lynching, a committee of civil society members, has proposed a new law. The Manav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA) suggests no bail for those accused of mob lynching, life imprisonment for those convicted and immediate suspension of the concerned station house officer. An online petition demanding MASUKA has received over 34,000 signatures.

 

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously included a video and incident from 2016. There have been 26 cases in 2017 so far, not 27 as we first said. We regret the error.

 

We welcome feedback. Please write to respond@indiaspend.org. We reserve the right to edit responses for language and grammar.

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  1. Anil Maheshwari Reply

    July 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    The figures used by you could be displayed in the following manner and that will not serve the agenda.

    Offences promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth etc. (Section 153A & 153B of IPC) in 2016: U.P. 116 (Population 217.5 millions); West Bengal 53 (Population 96.7 millions) & Kerala 50 (Population 34.3 million). Total number all over India is 475. It means more than 45 per cent in these three states alone.

    • Prem Reply

      August 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      The article was about cow-related violence – your data points refer to communal violence and the count of the incidents also include events when the sangh parivar was the aggressor. So it won’t really help your case to make the situation look better than it is.

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