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Cow vigilantism behind Mewat gangrape

Cow vigilantism under the BJP government at the Centre is targeting Muslims and minorities, Mewat, a place with 80 percent Muslims, was chosen by cow vigilantes to instigate violence. Victims of Mewat double murder-gangrape-robbery incident revealed that the attackers told them that they are punishing them for eating beef. Instead of strict action against the culprits, Haryana BJP government started collecting “biryani” samples from roadside restaurants to check if they contained beef. Haryana government made special laws for cow protection to include even calves and bulls. The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act 2015 define beef as “flesh of cow in any form including contained in sealed containers and imported in the state”. The Act makes cow slaughter punishable with rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

In Mewat district, only two of the eight towns have Hindu majority, Tauru (88 %) and Khori Kalan (69 %). On 24 August, 2016, in Dingerheri village of Tauru in the midnight almost ten men indulged in three-hour long orgy of raping and robbing Muslim residents. A Muslim couple was murdered, their relatives, including two young girls, were gangraped in front of the family who were tied with ropes and brutally beaten by the Hindutva criminals. This incident sent a shock wave around Mewat where this kind of crime is unpreccedented. Mewat Police accepted that this is the first time any such crime took place in the entire district while calling the Mewatis peace-loving people.

Four accused were arrested and preliminary interrogation revealed that rape was the prime motive. One of the detained accused, Rahul Kumar, was found to be working for RSS while Sandeep, Amarjeet and Karamjeet were reportedly anti-Muslims. The locals claimed that some of the accused are Gau Rakshaks (Cow Protectors).

If their motive was robbery they would have robbed and escaped, if their motive was killing they would have killed and escaped, and if their motive was raping, they would have raped, beaten a few and escaped, but they didn’t. It was a pre-planned crime in which they beat up the family, tied them with ropes and then raped a woman and a minor girl in front of them. When the woman, who had a small baby. tried to escape, they threatened to kill her baby if she went out. The motive behind this horrific crime seems to instigate Hindu-Muslim riots. The most ironic part is that the national media, especially electronic media scarcely reported this heinous crime against humanity, although the area is hardly 55 kms away.

Leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)’s Abhay Singh said, “BJP has a long history of causing communal riots by creating conflict. It has picked beef issue in Haryana for the same purpose. They want such a situation to create riots between Hindu and Muslim.”

RSS connection: On 5 November, 2012, RSS Hindi mouthpiece Panchajanya, wrote an article with the headline, “Save Mewat from becoming Pakistan”. The article alleged that Hindus are being converted to Islam forcefully and ‘Love Jihad’ operates there. The article claimed, “Members of RSS, BJP, Arya Samaj and some other organizations are trying to develop courage amongst Hindus in Mewat. Prof. Jayadev Arya says whenever something happens to Hindus, members of these organizations only raise voice in their support, after which the Administration takes steps for protection of Hindus. Sundar Muni, a social activist, working in Mewat for ‘Bharateeya Shuddhi Sabha’ and ‘Gau Raksha Samiti’ says the situation in Mewat can improve only when awareness is created amongst ‘Mewa’ Muslims towards their ancient culture.”

This suggests that RSS people can be behind making Mewat an epicentre of communal politics.

Reactions: On 1 September, a mahapanchayat of 36 communities was held at Tauru grain market. It demanded CBI inquiry and appointed a three-member committee of the District Bar Association to fight for justice in the case and it was attended by MLA Nuh, Zakir Hussain, senior Congress leaders Captain Ajay Singh Yadav and Aftab Ahmed, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogender Yadav and Mahendragarh-Bhiwani MP Dharambir Singh. The mahapanchayat also demanded compensation of Rs. 50 lakh for victims from the Haryana government.

On 7 September, JDU leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari, along with human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi, held a press conference in which the rape victims participated. Ansari demanded CBI probe which has now been accepted by the Haryana government which had also set up a special investigation team (SIT).

Speaking on the issue, MLA Zakir Hussain said, “Police deliberately added Section 460 (penalty for murder during robbery) instead of gang-rape and murder. Despite the fact that government has all kind of grants under Nirbhaya Fund, not even a single paisa was released.”

Delegations of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ulama and Milli Council visited the Mewat victims and assured them help.

Hasan Rizvi

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 October 2016 on page no. 15

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