Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – The horrific burning of two Muslim men to death in Haryana’s Bhiwani has once again turned the spotlight on the lawless and murderous actions in the name of “cow protection” by the Hindutva groups or the so-called cow vigilantes in the state. Junaid and Nasir, residents of Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, were allegedly kidnapped, brutally thrashed and set on fire over the claim of “cow smuggling”.
“It is a matter of grave concern that these cow vigilantes have a support base. Monu Manesar (One of the accused in the killing of Junaid and Nasir), has pictures with Amit Shah (Union Home Minister), other senior BJP ministers, police officers and people associated with the administration. It means that they are getting full support,” said Dr Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, a leader of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMBPL), talking to Clarion India.
Monu alias Mohit Yadav, who is associated with the Bajrang Dal, is the head of Haryana Cow Protection Task Force and a member of the “civil defense team” in Manesar. Several photos and videos, which have gone viral, show that he openly brandishes firearms, opens them on people and is involved in many cases of assaulting people.
Weeks before the brutal killing of Junaid and Nasir in Bhiwani, Monu was accused of beating a 22-year-old Muslim youth named Haris to death over the allegations of “cow smuggling”. However, the police in Nuh district claimed that Haris, resident of Hussainpur in Mewat, died in an accident even though family members have filed a complaint against Monu.
Even in the case of Junaid and Nasir’s killing, Monu is yet to be arrested or even charged. Family members of the deceased have sat on dharna in their village Ghatmika demanding the arrest of Monu and other accused.
Alishan Jafri, a journalist who often reports on hate crimes in the country, said that this is a huge matter of embarrassment that those who are involved in the killing of two Muslim men have still not been arrested even though family members of the deceased have been demanding their arrest. Only one accused Rinku Saini has been arrested in the case so far.
“There are people and organisations who have come in support of the accused. This is part of a gradual process in which the people who were called “fringe elements” are now in the mainstream. They openly commit violence but upload videos to please their supporters. They don’t even have fear of the police. This presents an extremely gloomy picture,” said Jafri.
Out of five accused named in the case related to the killing of Nasir and Junaid, three accused were working as informers for the Haryana police in relation to crackdown on alleged cow smuggling. Rinku Saini, Lokesh Singla and Shrikant, have been named as informers in at least four FIRs lodged over the past two months in the Ferozepur Jhirka and Nagina police stations in Nuh, reported the Indian Express.
On Tuesday, a Hindu Mahapnachayat was held in support of the accused in Haryana’s Manesar. At the Mahapanchayat, the Rajasthan police was threatened that if they come to Haryana for the accused, they will not go back on their feet. Several rallies in support of the accused were taken out at various places too.
Monu also has a massive social media presence. He runs a YouTube channel which has over 2 lakh subscribers and has around one lakh followers on Facebook.
A number of videos surfaced on social media show the extreme violence cow vigilantes are involved in and the weapons they carry.
Jafri has pointed out that the massive influence of Monu on social media shows that a section from the majority community is increasingly becoming radicalised as a large section of people are watching these violent videos and subscribing to such hate-spewing channels.
The journalist stressed that the problem cannot be tackled by only acting against a single person. It needs to be dealt with as a systematic failure.
“If one wants to have a conversation in this regard, it is not allowed. Those who talk about it are declared as criminals or anti-government,” he added.