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Cow Vigilantes Lynch Muslim Youth in J&K’s Rajouri District

Aijaz Ahmad Dar

“It appears to be a communal incident because the accused are cow vigilantes.”

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A 20-year-old Kashmiri Muslim was beaten to death by a gang of self styled cow vigilantes on the intervening night between Monday and Tuesday in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, police and his family said.

“Aijaz Ahmad Dar was taking his cattle from one place to another when a group of anti-social elements waylaid and beat him which led to his death,” Jahangir Ahmad, a police officer at Rajouri Police Station told Clarion India over phone. “It appears to be a communal incident because the accused are cow vigilantes.”

The police has filed a case of murder against the culprits and launched a manhunt to nab them. FIR has invoked various section of the Indian Penal Code including  302 (murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others), 147 (rioting.), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapons). “We have summoned some people but are yet to arrest the real culprits,” the police officer said.

According to the victim’s cousin Mudasir Nazar, Aijaz and another person had left home on Monday evening to bring a buffalo in a mini truck from another village.

Nazar said that as Aijaz and his driver  left with the buffalo after having dinner there they were waylaid by the  group of cow vigilantes who attacked them with stones. They had tried to escape but when they hit a speed breaker on the road near a BSF camp, the goons pelted stones on the vehicle and forced them to stop.

“I think they had bashed his head with a rod or a stone which caused his death.” said Nazar. “The driver somehow managed to escape.”

The family got to know about the incident around 3 in the morning on Tuesday.

Aijaz succumbed to his injuries at Government Medical College Jammu on Tuesday.

A video that has surfaced on social media shows Aijaz’s head smeared with blood including bruises on eye and face.

Activists in Rajouri say lynching of Aijaz is part of growing communal violence against Muslims including marginalised tribal communities in the area. “Hate crimes against Muslims have been on the rise for the last couple of years in Jammu region,” said Guftar Chaudhary, a community activist in Rajouri. “Those who are taking laws in their own hand & killing innocents are real terrorists.”

Aijaz is survived by his paralysed father Mohammad Afzal and three sisters. Mudasir said that he was a horseman but now the family has lost an earning hand.

“Who will take care of his sisters, mother and paralysed father. Will he get Justice? Time will tell,” said Chaudhary.

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