Photo Credits- Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realizing Him.”

Mahatma Gandhi, world’s stellar preacher of non-violence, had quoted the above lines to make people realize that violence in the name of religion is no means of realizing God. Nevertheless, practicing such values is not anymore the culture in diverse India.  Violence in the name of God and religion is prevalent throughout the world these days. Be it in the form of Islamic terrorism or rising intolerance against beef in India.

People in India today face the danger of being lynched by anyone, anywhere. Recently, a youth named Junaid Khan was killed in a moving train by some people when a petty scuffle took the shape of communal slur. The boy was stated as a “beef eater”, which instigated the people to do the unlawful act.

The “Not in My Name” campaign is a protest against the people who encourage these kinds of horrific instances against minorities, particularly Dalits and Muslims. This case is one among the many cases of lynching with regards to the beef ban that have taken place in the last three years. Following is a list of such cases reported since 2014.

30th May 2015 (Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi, Nagaur)

30th May 2015 saw an attack on a meat shop owner, Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi, resident of Birloka village in Nagaur, Rajasthan. The 60 year old man was alleged of selling beef at his shop. The case is still pending the court, six accused still roaming free. (Source: Human Rights Watch)

2nd August 2015 (Anaf, Arif, and Nazim, Dadri)

Three Muslim boys, Anaf, Arif, and Nazim were lynched for carrying buffaloes in their truck by alleged animal rights activists on 2nd August 2015 in Kaimrala village in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh. The boys were considered as cattle thieves. The biggest irony of this incident was that, the police filed a case against the victims for being cattle thieves, but no case was filed against the mob for Murder, Conspiracy, Instigation, etc. (Source: Human Rights Watch)

28th September 2015 (Mohammad Akhlaq, Dadri)

On the night of 28th September 2015, Mohommad Akhlaq Saifi, a resident of Bisara village in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh was beaten to death by a group of cow vigilantes suspecting him of storing beef at his home. The man met his fate just because some people ‘suspected’ of him being in possession of beef. The incident led to a huge uproar across the world. Some forensic reports stated that, the meat found at Akhlaq’s home was not even beef, but mutton. (Source: Human Rights Watch)

9th October 2015 (Zahid Bhatt, Udhampur)

18 year old Zahid Bhatt, another suspect of transporting beef in his truck was killed by cow vigilantes on 9th October 2015 in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir. This incident led to more communal clashes in Udhampur and neighbouring districts. Later it was found out that the boy was transporting coal, not beef, in his truck. (Source: Human Rights Watch)

14th October 2015 (Noman, Shimla)

A Hindu mob attacked Noman and four others who were allegedly smuggling cows on 14th October 2015 in Sarahan village in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. The victims were booked under animal cruelty and cow slaughter laws. (Source: Human Rights Watch)

18th March 2016 (Mohammed Mazlum Ansari and Mohammed Imtiyaz Khan, Latehar)

Two cattle traders, Mohammed Mazlum Ansari and Mohammed Imtiyaz Khan were hanged to death, tied with a tree on 18th March 2016 in Balumath forests in Latehar, Jharkhand. The police arrested some local cow protection group members. (Source: Human Rights Watch)

5th April 2017 (Pehlu Khan, Alwar)

On 5th April 2017 in Alwar district of Rajasthan, a dairy farmer who was carrying cattle for milk was killed by a group of 200 right-wing cow vigilantes. The victim even presented the purchase receipt to the mob as a proof that he was not carrying cows for beef, but the mob didn’t consider it and attacked him. (Source: BBC)

24th April 2017 (Reasi)

A Muslim family was attacked by a group of cow vigilantes on 24th April 2017 in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. The family was suspected of transporting cows for slaughter. (Source: Al Jazeera)

30th April 2017 (Abu Hanifa and Riyazuddin Ali, Nagaon)

Two Muslim men, Abu Hanifa and Riyazuddin Ali, were brutally killed for alleged theft of cows for slaughter in Nagaon district of Assam on 30th April 2017. (Source: The Indian Express)

22nd June 2017 (Nasirul Haque, Mohammad Samiruddin and Md Nasir, Dinajpur)

Three men were killed in Dinajpur district of West Bengal on 22nd June 2017 by a group of 10 people for allegedly stealing cows for slaughtering. (Source: The Indian Express)

23rd June 2017 (Junaid Khan, Ballabhgarh)

As discussed above, a scuffle turned extremely violent on the train route of Ballabhgarh-Delhi on an allegation that victim was a beef consumer. (Source: India Today)

27th June 2017 (Usman Ansari, Giridih)

A dairy owner residing in Giridih, Jharkhand was attacked by cow vigilantes because a carcass of a cow was found near his house. He is seriously injured and hospitalized currently. (Source: The Hindustan Times)

The incidents noted above are examples of unnecessary violence even when there are legal prohibitions against cow slaughter in force in India. Article 48 of the Constitution directs the state to make laws in order to protect cows and other milch and draught animals from slaughter. The recent amendments made to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 are of much significance in this regard. Almost all the states in India have enforced regulations over cow slaughter except Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, and West Bengal. Rather than making this issue another communal agenda, we should just construe it as an extreme right wing ideology. We cannot take into consideration the fact that only Muslims are being lynched for cow slaughter because the media might not be reporting the incidents of attacks on the Hindus who are themselves participating in cow slaughter. People need to understand that attacking people in the name of ‘Hindutva’ is a grave shortcoming on India’s tag of “Unity in Diversity”. If not for others, these right-wing ideologists should respect the statement given by our honourable pro-RSS PM Shri Narendra Modi. He has finally broken his silence on the issue saying

“Constitution teaches us it’s (cow protection) importance. But do we get the right to kill a human? Is this how we worship cow? This cannot be the path of Bapu. Vinoba Bhave’s life doesn’t convey to us this message. Killing people in the name of Gau Bhakti is unacceptable. No one has the right to take law into his/her hands. We belong to a land of non-violence. Violence is not the solution to any problem. Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, would never approve of such incidents.”