Cow vigilantes thrash two Muslim men in Karnataka, 5 arrested

New Delhi: A group of Hindutva extremists attacked Abdul Rahiman and Muhammad Mustafa on suspicion of cow smuggling on Wednesday night in Melanthabettu village of Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district.

Five people have been arrested and an FIR under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint), 355 (assault), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 504 (insult), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code have been registered in connection with the incident.

Rahiman and Mustafa were assaulted when they were on way home in a pick-up. Hyder, who is in touch with the victims, was quoted by The Clarion India as saying that they were looking for a repair shop as there was some issue with their vehicle when at around 11.30 PM two men on a Pulsar cycle stopped them. ”Without any query they attacked them,” They people came with rods and thrashed them brutally.

Rising violence against Muslims

Violence against Muslims and other minority communities has become increasingly frequent in India since the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, came to power in 2014.

“Attacks continued against minorities, especially Muslims, even as authorities failed to take action against BJP leaders who vilified Muslims and BJP supporters who engaged in violence,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its World Report 2021.

A particularly jarring episode was the communal violence that broke out in New Delhi last February.

At least 53 people were killed – a majority of them Muslim – and over 200 were injured, properties destroyed, and communities displaced in targeted attacks by Hindu mobs, according to HRW.

“A July report by the Delhi Minorities Commission said the violence in Delhi was “planned and targeted,” and found that the police were filing cases against Muslim victims for the violence, but not taking action against the BJP leaders who incited it,” read the report.

Earlier this month, American watchdog Freedom House downgraded India’s status from a “free” country to a “partly free” country.

The group’s Freedom in the World report noted the “rising violence and discriminatory policies affecting the Muslim population” in India.

It also highlighted the “crackdown on expressions of dissent by the media, academics, civil society groups, and protesters” during Prime Minister Modi’s tenure.

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