A mother and her son were beaten up by scores of cow-vigilantes, who barged in their home, in Anand district of Gujarat, on Saturday evening. The incident took place a year after the video of four Dalit men, being mercilessly flogged by cow-vigilantes in Una, had caused a country-wide shame.
According to the victims, identified by the police as 21-year-old Shailesh Rohit and his mother Maniben, the mob thrashed the family and kept abusing them while referring to their caste.
According to reports, Shailesh said that he was beaten up by the upper caste Hindus. He had been earlier stopped from skinning dead cows by Darbar community, who accused him of raising a stink in the locality. The police said, he was allegedly skinning dead cows far from a place, allotted for the work.
The issue, however, had been resolved between the two parties. But Shailesh was still attacked later, during the night. An FIR has been registered in the case by the police.
Even as the government, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has strongly opposed the acts of violence in the name of cow-protection, vigilante groups have instead emboldened over time, since BJP has come to power in the country.
Rise in incidents
Following the attack in Gujarat’s Anand district, which is not more than 70 km from the capital city of Ahmedabad, the US released a report on international religious freedom, stating that violence by cow-protection squads has increased in year 2016.
“There was an increase in violent incidents by cow protection groups against mostly Muslim victims, including killings, mob violence, assaults, and intimidation,” the report noted.
The report - released by the secretary of the state Rex Tillerson - pointed out the authorities have failed to prosecute such vigilante groups.
“Authorities frequently did not prosecute members of vigilante “cow protection” groups who attacked alleged smugglers, consumers, or traders of beef, usually Muslims, despite an increase in attacks compared to previous years,” the report added.