India: Muslim Man Killed By Cattle Vigilantes In Maharashtra State

Muslim Man Killed By Cattle Vigilantes

A Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob of cattle vigilantes in Nashik in India’s Maharashtra State on 24 June.

Afan Abdul Majeed Ansari was travelling from Nashik to Mumbai along with another Muslim man identified as Nasir Qureshi when they were stopped on the Sinar-Ghoti Highway by a group of approximately 15 cattle vigilantes who allegedly found beef in their vehicle. The mob then proceeded to violently beat the two men with steel rods and sticks, causing severe injuries to both.

Police were called to the location and found the victims inside the car. Both men were rushed to the SMBT hospital in Dhamangaon, however Mr Ansari (32) succumbed to his injuries and passed away in hospital. Mr Qureshi is currently receiving further treatment in hospital.

Maharashtra State police have filed a murder case, based on Mr Qureshi’s complaint against 11 of the accused. Meanwhile, the Federation of Maharashtra Muslims has demanded strict action against the accused and also called on Maharashtra Home Minister to take immediate action against cattle vigilantes, who have been taking the law into their own hands in the name of cow protection.

Maharashtra is one of several states in India where the slaughter of cows is illegal. Calls for cow protection by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party over the years have emboldened Hindu fundamentalists to attack minorities, especially Muslims. According to Human Rights Watch, 36 of the 44 people killed in such attacks between May 2015 and December 2018 were Muslims.

This is the second such incident in Nashik this month. On 10 June, one Muslim man was killed when he and two others were reportedly attacked by cow vigilantes.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: ‘CSW extends our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Afan Abdul Majeed Ansari, and we wish Nasir Qureshi a swift and full recovery. It is unacceptable that Muslims in India continue to face targeted violence by extremists who have clearly been emboldened by the country’s ruling party. We call on the government of India to crack down on Hindu nationalist narratives, holding members of the party to account for incitement to hatred and violence, and ensuring that Mr Ansari’s killers are brought to justice.’

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