Politics

‘Gau Rakshaks’ Stab Student in Sonepat for Not Taking Pictures of Rally

People at the protest apparently mistook the student for a journalist and were angered when he refused to take pictures of the ‘gau rakshaks‘ handing out pamphlets.

Rescued cattle are seen at a "goushala", or cow shelter, run by Bharatiya Gou Rakshan Parishad, an arm of the Hindu nationalist group Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), at Aangaon village in Maharashtra. February 20, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Shailesh Andrade

Representatice image Credit: Reuters/Shailesh Andrade

New Delhi: A student who accompanied a journalist friend to a rally organised by ‘gau rakshaks‘ in Sonepat was stabbed when someone decided he was also a journalist and got upset when the student refused to take pictures.

Shivam, a second year BA student, was apparently fiddling with his friend’s camera when people at the rally demanded that he take pictures of them handing out pamphlets, Hindustan Times reported. The rally was organised by the Gau Raksha Seva Dal, demanding that Youth Congress members who publicly slaughtered a cow in Kerala (to protest the government’s new ban on cattle trade for slaughter) be charged with sedition.

When Shivam refused to take pictures a heated argument apparently broke out, but bystanders intervened to try and break it up. However, gau rakshaks followed Shivam after the protest and stabbed him multiple times with knives at a market, Hindustan Times quoted the police as saying. According to The Hindu, however, Shivam approached the police after the first argument and then went with a constable to try and detain the main accused, Mohit. Mohit tried to run away and Shivam followed, at which point Mohit stabbed him thrice, the newspaper quoted the SHO as saying.

Mohit is currently in police custody, though two of his family members who are also accused in the stabbing are yet to be arrested, Hindustan Times reported. A case of attempt to murder has been registered against three people.

Shivam was first taken to a local hospital, but then moved to Apollo hospital in Delhi after his condition worsened.

While ‘gau rakshaks’ are now infamous for their violent vigilante tendencies, leading to numerous deaths across North India (most recently of Pehlu Khan, a cattle trader who was murdered by cow vigilantes because they decided he was transporting a cow for slaughter). This instance is different only because the altercation was not even about cows – yet the violence continued.

  • Ashok Akbar Gonsalves

    1999-2004: India Shining.
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