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Communalism

Haryana: Muslim Man Allegedly Beaten Up, Abducted by Cow Vigilantes Gets Arrested

A video of the incident which has now gone viral shows the man in question being beaten up by a group of men carrying pistols. Similar incidents of cow vigilantism were reported from two other villages in the state.

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New Delhi: A Muslim man was allegedly beaten up and abducted by cow vigilantes on April 23 in Sheikhpur village of Haryana’s Nuh district.

In a video that went viral, the man is seen being beaten up by a group of men, who are holding pistols. According to The Quint, the villagers said that they were chanting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

The report further said that local Bajrang Dal members were allegedly involved in the abduction.

Mohammad Shokeen (38), a daily wage labourer from the village in Firozpur Jhirka tehsil, told the news outlet that Sahib Hussain (26), who had gone to the field that morning, ran when he saw the vigilantes. When they fired two shots in the air, he fell to the ground and was roughed up and hit in the head with a pistol butt by them.

“They were here to create communal tensions in Mewat and instil fear in the hearts of people,” Shokeen said.

A 65-year-old gardener from the area told The Quint: “My elder son and I were tending to the plants when we saw them dragging Sahib. My son asked them not to beat him. They said they’d beat my son if he didn’t stay back. We couldn’t do anything to stop them. They were 20-25 men and had pistols. They took him away.”

Raqmuddin (25), who runs a dairy business, had come to pick up his delivery of milk. When he saw the cow vigilantes, he started filming the incident. However, one of the men seized his phone and then smashed it.

On the evening of April 23, the Nuh Police booked Hussain under Sections 13(1) and 13(3) of the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015 – which deal with cow slaughter – and arrested him, the report said.

Also read: Delhi Man Lynched on Suspicion of Cow Slaughter, 2 Others Injured

Two videos of the same incident went viral on social media. The first video, captioned “Gau Raksha Dal, Mewat Road, Haryana”, showed someone pointing a gun barrel towards women and children. In the second video, a man who can barely walk is being dragged by a group of Hindutva workers at gun-point. The caption reads, “Taking away the cow-smuggler.” The man in the video is then forcefully loaded into a white Scorpio car from Haryana which is registered in the name of ‘Development & Panchayat’.

After the videos went viral, a first information report (FIR) was on April 27 registered against “three to four unidentified persons” under Sections 286 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 294 (obscene acts and songs), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, and some sections of the Arms Act, 1959.

Similar incidents were reported in two other villages – Basai Meo and Rawli – where the cow vigilantes fired two to three rounds in the air and chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’. In Rawli, the cow vigilantes abducted two brothers – Hakmuddin and Raees – from their house and field, respectively. However, in Basai Meo, no one was “kidnapped” from the village.

Also read: Mathura Vigilantes Beat up Muslim Driver Over Suspicion He Was Transporting Cow Remains

Aas Muhammad (50), Hakmuddin and Raees’ brother, told The Quint, “They hit my brothers and abused and threatened anyone who tried to intervene. My brothers have never taken part in illegal activities. They are not cow smugglers. One is a labourer and the other one works as a porter in the tehsil. The police came more than an hour after they were taken away by the vigilantes.”

The police booked them under various sections related to cow smuggling and were lodged in District Jail, Gurugram.

Mamman Khan, Congress MLA from Firozpur Jhirka, told the news outlet: “Everyone should respect others’ religion. But if someone is taking part in illegal activities, the authorities are supposed to punish that person according to the law. Bajrang Dal members, gau rakshaks, these anti-social elements cannot go into villages in government vehicles, armed with weapons, abuse our mothers and sisters and abduct youth on whom cases are later filed. Like they have destroyed the brotherhood in the rest of the country, they want to do that here too. The government should just say that the state is not ruled by them, but rather the Bajrang Dal and gau rakshaks. We have told the administration that we will not tolerate these people entering our villages and abducting men.”