India’s cow vigilantes are targeting Muslims


On a Monday night in September 2015, in a little town outside New Delhi, an angry mob showed up to the house of man named Mohammad Akhlaq. The mob hit Akhlaq’s elderly mother. They severely injured his son and then, they found Akhlaq. They dragged him on to the street and they
beat him with bricks until he immediately died. The reason Akhlaq was killed, the anger from
this mob came from a rumor, a rumor that he was
carrying beef. “56 year old Muslim man was beaten to death
by an allegedly Hindu mob.” An investigation was immediately launched. Not only into Akhlaq’s murder, but also into whether or not he truly was carrying beef. 18 suspects were identified, but now, four
years later, the trial hasn’t even begun yet. In fact,
the accused are out on bail, which has led to fear among the victim’s
family and community. Earlier this year, one of the accused was invited to sit in the front row of a political rally. He later claimed that 16 of the accused
were in the audience that day. Aklhaq’s murder isn’t an isolated incident. Here in a town in eastern India, two Muslim cattle traders, one of them
just 13, we’re driving to a fair to sell their cows when they were stopped
by a group of men, who beat them and hanged them from a tree where, they both died.
Over the last seven years hundreds of Indians have been attacked, many killed.
This violence has affected some Hindus and other minorities, but the majority of the
victims are Muslims. All these incidents plotted on the map have one thing
in common: they’re all directly tied to cows. But these attacks like this weren’t always this
prevalent. In 2012, there was just one such attack in
all of India. The next year there were just two. But then in 2014, something changed. Look at the rise every year since. And if you look closer at what’s actually happening on the ground, you can start to see exactly why
these violent attacks are on the rise. “Showing violence by so-called cow
vigilantes in India.” “Self-appointed guardians of cows, which
are sacred to Hindus claim they’re being illegally slaughtered. Not afraid to use
violence to stop them.” There are millions of stray cows in India. These cows don’t belong to anyone. They are usually past the age where they
can be productive on farms and so they’re just set free to roam the
country and you see them everywhere. Cows are considered sacred in Hinduism and the majority of India’s 1.3 billion people identify as Hindu. Cows are generally revered by Hindus, many
of whom abstain from eating beef, but many Indians practice religions
that don’t share that same belief. While transporting and trading cows isn’t
always illegal in the country, slaughtering cows is banned in most of
India’s states. In some parts of the country, especially those in the northern
region, the police go on raids looking for people who are breaking these cow
protection laws, but in recent years, it’s not just the police cracking down. These are cow vigilantes. “Once again, the beef brigade has taken law
in its own hands in this country.” “This is one of several viral video showing
violence by so-called cow vigilantes in India.” “A resident of Haryana’s Mewat district was
transporting two cows in his vehicle when he was beaten to
death.” They’re almost always groups of young men
piling into SUVs to patrol the highways at night. They’ll take whatever weapons they have. Rifles or like small handmade guns. Then, they’ll raid the highways looking for any vehicle. Sometimes
they’ll have police around with them. Sometimes they will be on the phone with
the police. That’s Snigdha Poonam. She’s a national affairs writer with The
Hindustan Times in Delhi. And I’ve been one of these vehicles with them
for a midnight raid and everyone has to stop, even if it’s like a group of young
people driving late at night, they have to stop and these cow protectors can do with
them as they please. If these vigilantes hear about someone who’s in possession of a cow or is
carrying beef, sometimes they will turn them over to the police, but more and
more, they’ve been using violence on their own. Often they make videos and then, that starts
passing around on Facebook and Whatsapp. Many cow vigilante’s have ties with
Hindu militant groups that specifically target Muslims and other religious minorities.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, between 2015 and 2018, of the 44 cow-related deaths, 36 of them were Muslim. To understand why these attacks
have surged during this time you have to look at the rise of one of India’s
biggest political parties. “It’s interesting to take a look at why and how this has become such a massive landslide in terms of seats
has been unprecedented. 70 seats for the BJP.” In 2014, India’s Hindu nationalist party
called Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP won the national elections and that made the leader
of the party, Narendra Modi, the Prime minister of India. His political platform has long been this
idea of Hindu nationalism and a big focus of
his speeches has been the protection of cows. One of the things that Narendra
Modi did while campaigning was talk about cows and how cows needed to be
saved or worshipped or celebrated. Let’s look at this map again, which shows
how cow violence increased after 2014, but now look at the attacks of 2017 and
2018. You can see that most of them are clustered around this one area. This is
Uttar Pradesh or UP. With over 200 million people, this is India’s
most populous state and in 2017, the Modi government appointed
this man to be the leader of the state, Yogi Adityanath. Earlier this year at an election rally,
Yogi referred to Muslims as quote a “green virus.” In fact, it was at one of his
political rallies where one of Akhlaq’s accused murderers was invited to sit on
the front row. After being appointed, Yogi directed the
police to scrutinize the slaughterhouses in his state, shutting down any that
didn’t have the proper paperwork. They shuttered thousands of meat shops and
closed hundreds of slaughterhouses that they claimed were illegal putting many
Muslims in Uttar Pradesh out of business. And with Yogi in power, cow vigilantes were
quickly emboldened. In fact soon after he was appointed, three
meat shops were set on fire by a mob. That year cow related violence spiked in UP and the impact of the Yogi’s policies didn’t
end there. I traveled south from the capital of UP, where
Yogi’s office sits, to a city on the banks of the Ganges. I’m in a part of Uttar Pradesh, which is
a huge leather producer and just a few months ago the government gave a notice to
this factory that they needed to stop all operations. They used water pollution
as the excuse because leather production uses water and can pollute rivers and things
like that so this factory worked really hard to install pumps and filters and
even after they provided all of the information and jumped through all those
hoops, the government still hasn’t given them permission to open up the factory again
and so it’s sits completely shut down, frozen in time. All of these workers, the owners, everyone
here is Muslim and this has been an industry that Muslims in Uttar Pradesh
have worked in for many many years and it’s now completely halted. I’m associated with the industry for
the last 50 years. I have never seen such bad days. Since he came into power in
2017, Yogi has allocated government funding to build shelters for stray cows
around his state. I went to visit one of these shelters to meet with the head of
a local cow protection organization. As someone who has dedicated his life to
peaceful and lawful cow protection, he was excited when Yogi announced his plan
to construct many more cow shelters. The place is not actually protecting or
supporting cows. It’s a lot that exists here for the cows to be in, but these
cows are starving, you can see their ribs. They don’t have enough food. They don’t
have enough shade. The state government has used the setting
up of a lot of these cow shelters as a political showcase of their commitment to Hindu
ideals, but when you come look at them you realize this isn’t about protecting
cows. This is about fueling an ideology. Akhlaq was killed by a mob because of
a rumor that he had beef in his possession, but the murder investigation
revealed that the meat he was carrying was not beef. It was mutton. Akhlaq’s brothers suspect that the murder
has less to do with cows and beef and more to do with the fact that he was a
Muslim who had money. It’s not about cows. It’s how they feel that
the Muslims have risen. They are buying more land. They are buying
better houses or they are earning more. They are rising
and how that upsets their social position. After a series of horrific cow related incidents
in 2017, thousands took to the street in protest
prompting Prime minister Modi to break his silence and finally condemn violence
in the name of cows. Then, in 2018, the Indian Supreme Court passed
a series of directives urging state governments to take the problem more seriously, to
properly prosecute these cases. Some state governments have tried to raise
awareness to curb the rumors that incite this violence, but no official action has
been taken by the national government. Meanwhile, Modi just won another
nationwide election and Yogi remains in power. And India, this country that is
rooted in the ideals of secularism and diversity has become more and more
dangerous for millions of its Muslim citizens.

100 thoughts on “India’s cow vigilantes are targeting Muslims

  1. Thank you all for watching Vox Borders! This was the 5th and final episode for this season. I'm excited to go back to the drawing board and find a new location for the next season of Borders later this year. Don't forget to sign up for the Vox Video Lab if you want a behind the scenes look at how we make Borders and other Vox videos. http://bit.ly/video-lab
    See you next time!

  2. Only and only politics to be blamed for this! they could simply ban it if they want to, or pass some sort of ordinance that it's legal

  3. 8.10, not only the illegal slaughterhouses, all of them Mr, Yogi, by killing thousands of people and encouraging such kind of violence

  4. The illiteracy rate of UP is very high.., they are less tolerant , see the people of Hyderabad……No Hindu muslim issues

  5. All international community.
    Whatever happening in india. With minorities like Muslims, Christians, Dalits , Sikh, etc. The main reason behind broken unity and chaos. Decreasing/Missing peace and harmony. because of Saffron extremists RSS and it's sub. VHP, bajrang Dal and many more. And Present Prime Minister modi was a former member of this organization. RSS follows the rules of Hitler.

  6. These issues are interlinked. 1)Misinterpretation of history that mughals looted the country, destroyed temples in the name of religion (which isn't true. Temples and mosques were destroyed in medival era because there were precious, semiprecious objects, stones etc hidden.)
    2) lack of strong secular opposition party. Reports of glaring corruption in Congress, their poverty alleviation programs not showing results, their pro minority stand was also twisted and used as election propoganda claiming majority is neglected, minorities are appeased.
    3) large scale unemployment,
    4) illiteracy.
    5) particularly Muslims are targeted, even Christians (some Hindus also eat beef fyi) eat beef but they are not targeted. As far as my limited knowledge goes that's because Christians are relatively better off financially, probably more concentrated down south in and around the coastal region. Muslims become an easy target because they are poor, living in poverty. (I am not propogating any hate towards Christians, it's just an observation).

    After about a year or two, the Union government secretly issued a notification of scrapping beef ban. So no it's not technically banned. Some state governments have banned but one does get beef in some parts but these extra state actors are still in play and nobody is willing to rein them in.

    Truly unfortunate.

  7. They blame cow
    They hate Muslims people because of Pakistan but they blame cow and hindu religion has nothing to with that

  8. India keep going on dangerous situation. Lynching and savagery on the base of religion has demolished our secular system.

  9. I used to watch Indian movies and there were full of violence acts defining the real situation and I used to say that is not true I have to visit India by myself but this is the truth people are killing others because of cows how about my money, car, identity,etc. Please Indians reply to this comment to know the reality although I am sure this report is real.

  10. There has been a lot of reports where cattle thieves have killed a lot of cow vigilantes and even police officers.Can you make a video??

  11. Sad to say theres no law & order in india. These hindu militants & extremists must be exposed internationally & condemned with contempt.

  12. Google dna reports of brahmin by scientist, they are europen you will see govt american website…they are jews may be.. And most of the religious problem are created by them.. Religious grp rss etc who are having bomb blast cases registered against them and pranab mukharjee who is former president is also part of sangh

  13. Every country have its own taboo things. There are town then there are garbage too. So, stay calm and watch your own business.

  14. Shame on ppl how think muslims r terrorist shame on india human vs animal (a cow )
    Life rate
    Cow =100%
    Humanity =0%
    What a humanity
    Watch dr zakirnike
    Hindu used to sacrifice cow and other animals as sacrifice for their gods

  15. All pakistani should be thankful and vry greatful to rehman (Allah almighty) and on the 2nd mohammad ali jinah Alhamdulillah im muslim and in pakistan 😊😊😊😊😙😙😙🇵🇰🇵🇰🇵🇰

  16. "This country which is rooted in the ideals of secularism…" Wait, what? You mean the ideals which Ghandi showed in his life of activitism and nonviolence? Which, by the way, he learned from the Gospel of Matthew? That is some loaded ignorance if I have ever heard it

  17. Thankyou Vox for showing this darker side of India 👍 Ppl here in India follow Modi blindly dunno what's the future of India😢

  18. what about Chinese cows,American cows, Australian jersey,and Netherlands cows they are even making hole in gods stomach,and day by day killing animal's for !MC,KFC,ETC

  19. Hindu believe that cow is our mother but why they not accept Bull is our father why.. I know the answer bcz in reality they Actually don't know who is their real father

  20. Actually with this point..i agree with india…We should ban beef and violence against cows

  21. you're very brave to make such documentry ,!
    I'm indian Muslim, I'd say that Indian hindu who spreads communal hatred against minorities needs a lesson! they've become hyenas! and the politicians are fueling them!

  22. Thank you so much for this. You've earned my respect . I thought just because it was crime on Muslims nobody would show it. Just like crimes against us in syria palestine gaza burma rohingya kashmir china afghanistan etc. No media shows this. Thank you so much i really respect you for this

  23. it's not about the cow it's about the hatred that majority of Right wingers have against minority to be precise Muslims and they are targeting them through beef eating and cow smuggling etc. So Vox presented it the right way but should have talked a little more about the mindset and the hatred otherwise a well researched video by vox as all ways.

  24. So it's ok for trump to chow down on a big Mac, USA are the largest beef consuming nation on the planet, yet mohdi loves trump

  25. Slaughtering cow for export is allowed India is largest exporter of beef in the world. Slaughtering cow for local consumption is against the religion, why these double standards.

  26. Before 2014 India is rising in IT industry
    After 2014 India is looking like dangerous country because of one community and one party.

  27. u know why india love cow so much? coz both of them dont know bout caste system. yeah the most disgusting pandemic country. fkin sick

  28. India needs a Prime Minister who is married and is concern about his daughter safety and son's career. Not some priest or sadhus inciting hatred and taking religious advantage to gain political power.

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