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A Muslim man accused of killing a cow was beaten to death by a mob in central India, police said Sunday, the latest vigilante murder over the animal considered sacred by Hindus.

Siraj Khan, a 45-year-old tailor, was attacked in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh state early Friday and died at the scene, local police official Arvind Tiwari told AFP. Kahn’s friend Shakeel Maqbool, who was also attacked, was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.

“We have arrested four people, and they have been sent to judicial custody. We are investigating what prompted the attack,” Tiwari said. He added that meat and a bull carcass was found at the scene.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to completely outlaw cow slaughter in India. A circular issued by the government last year made transporting cows illegal, which was seen as a virtual ban on cow slaughter. The circular was later withdrawn following wide spred protest. Rights groups say Hindu mobs have been emboldened under the party, who stormed to power in 2014.

In two prominent cases last year, a dairy farmer was killed on a roadside for transporting cows and a Muslim teenager accused of carrying beef was stabbed to death on a crowded train.

Hindus consider cows sacred and slaughtering the animals, or possessing or consuming beef, is banned in most Indian states. Cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh carries a maximum seven-year jail term but many other parts of India impose life sentences for infringements.

It is estimated that at least 40 people were killed by cow vigilante groups in India since BJP came to power in 2014. Many of the victims are Muslims.

Madhya Pradesh is ruled by BJP.

2 Comments

  1. Sally Dugman says:

    One of my friends right now is in Bangladesh. He’s in the middle of having a shock to his soul or his sensibilities (if one doesn’t believe in a soul) due to having been invited to write an assessment for “ROHINGYA: Bangladesh Mission Report.”

    Yes, it is hard to bear witness. It is hard to endure suffering and loss on behalf of others. One has to brace oneself and toughly steel up so as to not disassemble at having to bear witness at the extreme pain experienced by others. So he is pulling himself forward, and trying to stay whole and focused on his task while at Cox’s Bazaar, southeast Bangladesh, near the border with Myanmar.

    Part of the way that he keeps himself intact is to simply focus on interviews of people and report writing. He tries to keep himself at bay from an overwhelming emotional response to the suffering of others surrounding him.

    He wanted to know about whatIi thought is going on for these mostly sad, displaced people. So I wrote: It is always the same old story since the beginning of life on this planet. Someone or something in one tribe, herd, flock, etc., wants something that another one has and so tries to take it. It is to protect phenome and genome so as to ensure that they go further in life. It is a classic example of othering. … This group were the outsiders and their land, resources, etc. were wanted by those in power (i.e., as happened with Israel, Rome and so on). … Same as happens with Dalits, racism, etc. Goes back to prehistoric times. … Survival. … Evolution put this all in place and culture cemented it.

    I had to tell him about the new murder at the Texas school. He is not in touch with news sources these days and, so, didn’t know of this latest major US gun slaughter. And that kind of news is just like this one about killing another presumed beef eater. (Send the offended cow worshipers to the USA. They can either find work on a milk farm or try to kill the majority of people in the USA, who eat beef. And good luck to them trying to kill off the majority of 327 million people — the beef eaters here.)

    But it is NOT about beef. It is about the words that I shared with my friend. Many people just don’t like others from groups outside of theirs. One sees it in the USA repeated gun violence. One sees it in the knifing of others and many other forms of brutality (i.e., rape of little children from another group) in India, Put another way, it is the same orientation of tribalism — support of one’s own self-identified group as opposed to being supportive of others perceived as outsiders.

    So what does one do in response? One supplies sympathy and material support for the displaced and harmed others, including provision of a refugee camp grounds. One bears witness and writes reports on some wrongful situations. One keeps on knocking at heaven’s gate on Earth to try to provide a remedy. One keeps at the latter effort because to cave into the wrong means that it will continue and, obviously, that negligent response leads to no good.

    I am sorry for the cow eaters in this account above (if indeed they did eat beef) and I’m sorry for my children — yes, they are mine — killed in Texas. I am sorry for the past ones harmed and murdered, and I am sorry for the future ones, too … the ones yet to be killed and brutalized if not killed.

    A whole bunch of us, like my pained friend writing his mission report — have broken hearts. Yet we will not stop our tasks to serve despite that, on the surface, it seems easier to flee and not deal with the others who have been compromised and all but destroyed whether in India, the USA, Palestinian territories, Syria or other places across the Earth.

    One of my associates, a Catholic Worker who has laid his life on the line on behalf of others who were strangers to him, explained the situation well to me many years ago. He said that evil is like magma that keeps seeping up out of the Earth. As soon as you quell it in one place, it pops up in another and, so, the task to stop it is always relentless. Yes, indeed, or to use another metaphor, we all have to act like Hans and keep plugging the holes:

    Brave Hans English Story – YouTube
    Video for Brave Hans English Story
    ▶ 4:10
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C3rMvMl_fk
    Dec 16, 2013 – Uploaded by Goyal Brothers Prakashan
    Goyal Brothers Prakashan is a name to reckon with among the leading, well known and prestigious publishing …