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Almost One Cow-Related Attack Every Week In 2017 Thus Far

Alison Saldanha,
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In the 33rd week of 2017, India reported its 29th incident of cow-related violence in the country–the most in eight years–in the West Chamaparan district of Bihar where seven Muslims were attacked by cow vigilantes for allegedly eating beef in their homes, the IndiaSpend database of such violence shows. So far we have recorded 70 incidents of bovine-related violence across India since 2010.

 

On Thursday, August 17, 2017, a mob of over 50 people gathered outside the house of Mohammad Shahabuddin in Dumra village, shouting slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’, theNew Indian Express reported on August 18, 2017. The vigilantes, which included local members of the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad group, reportedly accused Shahabuddin and his neighbours of killing a cow and consuming beef. The mob reportedly locked the Muslims in a room in Shahabuddin’s house and beat them up with wooden sticks. Four people were injured in the attack and hospitalised thereafter, the newspaper report said.

 

While no charges were filed against the attackers, the local police arrested seven Muslims for “deliberately hurting the religious sentiments of the local majority community”. Explaining why no action had been taken against the attackers, the police said: “There has been no such complaint about the attack so far,” the New Indian Express reported.

 

This is the second attack to take place in Bihar within a fortnight, and the third attack reported in the state this year. Prior to 2017, Bihar did not report a single attack for at least seven years since 2010–the start point for the IndiaSpend database of such violence.

 

Created through a collection and content analysis of reports in the English media, the shows that 97% (68 of 70) of such incidents were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in May 2014. The data show that Muslims were the target of 53% (37 of 70) cases of violence centred on bovine issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 85% (22 of 26) killed in 70 incidents.

 

Nearly half or 49% of the cow-related violence–34 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 August 18, 2017.

 

The recent two cases of cow-related violence in Bihar are recorded under the Janata Dal (United) government. On July 27, 2017, the JD(U) entered into an alliance with the BJP.

 

 

 

Source: IndiaSpend database

 

Database reconciliation


On reconciliation of our dataset, we found the following discrepancies, which have been corrected:


1. An incident dated July 18, 2016, was reported from Una, Gujarat. Two news reports published on different dates carrying different details of the same incident were considered as separate incidents in the earlier version of the database. This has now been corrected, bringing down the incident count by one, and the injured count by four. This has not affected the figure for deaths.


2. An incident dated March 27, 2016, was reported from Kurukshetra, Haryana. An update on the case was considered as a separate incident in the earlier version of the database. This has been corrected, bringing down the incident count as well as the death toll by one.


3. An incident dated March 18, 2016, was reported from Latehar, Jharkhand. There were two news reports of the same incident in the same newspaper but citing different names. This has been corrected after telephonic confirmation from the newspaper’s Jharkhand correspondent. This brings the incident count down by one and the count of deaths down by two.


Updated on December 8, 2017. All links to the database in the story have been updated to http://data.indiaspend.com/hate-crime

 

(Saldanha is an assistant editor with IndiaSpend.)

 

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

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