Saturday, June 22, 2024

Gujarat: Muslim man lynched by cow vigilantes

In Gujarat’s Diyodar, in Sheeshan Village, on 22 May, a Muslim man named Mishri Khan Baloch was lynched by a cow vigilante group consisting of nine men.

Around 6 PM on Wednesday, as Baloch was heading to his sister’s place to deliver two buffaloes, his vehicle was stopped by a group identified as Akhiraj Singh, Parbat Singh Vaghela, Jagat Singh, Badwant Singh, Jel Singh, Gopal Singh, Nikul Singh, Rocky Thakur, Mir Singh, and Praveen Singh.

They attacked him with weapons under the guise of cow protection.

Baloch sustained serious injuries and eventually succumbed to his injuries.

Hussain Khan, who was driving the vehicle, managed to escape by fleeing the scene of the attack. However, he was unable to save Baloch.

Locals report that Akhiraj Singh, one of the assailants, is notorious in the area for his history of thuggery and violence. Singh, a resident of Banaskantha district in Gujarat, has multiple criminal cases registered against him and has been arrested once.

“Several cases are pending in the high court against Akhiraj Singh, who was tried in July 2023 for assaulting a man transporting buffaloes and forcing him to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram,'” said Sahal Qureshi, a journalist based in Gujarat, to Maktoob. 

Qureshi further said that there is a gang that extorts money from individuals buying and selling animals, and intercepts vehicles transporting these animals. “Those who pay are allowed to leave, but those who refuse are publicly beaten,” he added.

Sher Khan, the brother of Mishri Khan Baloch, alleged that the assailants demanded 2 lakh rupees from his brother and the driver of the pickup truck.

Despite the gravity of the incident, the police refused to categorize it as a case of mob lynching, according to local residents. 

“The formation of groups to surround and beat people up for a specific purpose qualifies as ‘mob lynching.’ The government should identify such groups and remain vigilant in areas where these activities occur. These criminals deserve the severest punishments,” stated Mujahid Nafees, Convener of the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) in Gujarat.


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