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Muslim man killed by cow vigilantes in Gujarat, police downplay mob lynching

Muslim man killed by cow vigilantes in Gujarat, police downplay mob lynching

Despite the Supreme Court's standing order to prevent mob lynching, particularly by cow vigilantes, a 40-year-old Muslim man named Mishrikhan Baloch was killed in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district while transporting buffaloes to an animal market on Thursday.

The incident occurred early Thursday morning when Mishrikhan and another villager, Hussainkhan Hajjibabukhan Baloch, encountered trouble as the tyre of their vehicle got punctured.

According to Hussainkhan, the accused men approached them in a sports utility vehicle. These men, identified as Akherajsinh Parbatsinh Vaghela, Nikulsinh, Jagatsinh, Pravinsinh, and Hamirbhai Thakor, had previously had an altercation with Hussainkhan in July over a similar dispute involving the transportation of buffaloes.

Reports suggest that Hussainkhan Baloch managed to escape the attackers and later filed a complaint with the police. The police have charged the perpetrators with murder, wrongful restraint, and rioting with deadly weapons. As of now, two of the accused have been apprehended, while the authorities are searching for the remaining three.

One of the accused, Akherajsinh Parbatsinh Vaghela, was previously involved in another cow vigilante-related violence incident in July last year. Although Vaghela was detained for the earlier incident, the Gujarat High Court quashed his detention, allowing him to remain free until now.

Local police have refuted claims that Mishrikhan’s killing was an act of mob lynching. They assert that the violence stemmed from an old dispute between the victims and the accused, rather than communal animosity.

This stance has drawn criticism, especially in light of a 2018 Supreme Court judgement that mandated state governments to implement preventive and remedial measures against mob violence, including cow-related vigilantism. The judgement emphasized the state's responsibility to ensure such acts do not occur, highlighting the need for stringent enforcement of these directives.

Critics argue that police in some states tend to downplay mob lynching incidents, recording them as brawls or accidents, to avoid the stringent requirements set by the Supreme Court. This practice has reportedly led to a lack of accountability and proper investigation in many cases of mob violence.

Concerns have also been raised about the recurring violence faced by Muslim and Dalit communities at the hands of cow vigilantes, many of whom are associated with militant Hindu groups. These groups often claim connections with the ruling BJP, which has further fuelled allegations of bias and inadequate protection for minority communities.

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TAGS:Cow vigilantesMob Lynching
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