Gujarat: Muslim man killed by cow vigilantes for transporting buffaloes

A Muslim man was killed allegedly by a group of cow vigilantes when he was transporting buffaloes in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district on Thursday, reported The Indian Express.

A minority rights organisation called the killing an instance of “mob lynching”. But the police denied that the crime was of mob lynching.

The police have accused five men of being involved in the killing and have taken two of them in custody.

The man who was killed was identified as Mishrikhan Baloch, a resident of Banaskantha’s Sesan Nava village. On Thursday morning, Mishrikhan, along with another villager named Hussainkhan Hajjibabukhan Baloch, was travelling with two buffaloes to an animal market in the town of Deesa when the tyre of their vehicle got punctured, according to The Times of India.

Hussainkhan told the police that the accused persons approached them in a sports utility vehicle. He said that the accused men, who had an altercation with him in July as well, began abusing him for having filed police complaints against them. The police complaints at that time were also related to a dispute about transporting buffaloes.

Hussainkhan said that when the accused persons began abusing him and threatening to kill him, he and Mishrikhan tried to escape in their vehicle, but the punctured tyre burst. The police said that Hussainkhan then fled the spot, while the attackers managed to get hold of Mishrikhan.

Mishrikhan was then allegedly killed with iron rods and machetes. Hussainkhan then filed a complaint with the police.

A case has been filed against five persons named Akherajsinh Parbatsinh Vaghela, Nikulsinh, Jagatsinh, Pravinsinh and Hamirbhai Thakor, The Indian Express reported. The men have been booked for murder, wrongful restraint, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy.

The police have reportedly detained Jagatsinh and Hamirbhai and are searching for the others.

A voluntary organisation named the Minority Coordination Committee Gujarat called the killing a case of mob lynching and urged Director General of Police Vikas Sahay to follow Supreme Court guidelines on preventing such crimes.

Banaskantha District Superintendent of Police Akshayraj Makwana, however, claimed that the killing could not be called mob lynching.

“It would require some communal aspect to term the incident as mob lynching,” he said. “This incident seems to have happened because of the past incident [from July 2023] and it appears that the accused did not intend to murder but rather intimidate the deceased.”

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