On the morning of March 18, a man and a boy were found hanging from a tree in Balumath forest near Ranchi. Their hands were tied tightly behind their backs and their mouths were stuffed with pieces of cloth. They had injury marks on their body, indicating they were assaulted and lynched before being hanged.
Muhammad Majloom (35) and Azad Khan alias Ibrahim (15), were purportedly on their way to sell eight buffaloes in a local market, when they were stopped and attacked. The macabre episode incited furore in the area that grew more violent when police tried to bring down the bodies.
The appalling act, allegedly, was orchestrated by a self-styled ‘cow protection activist’, who, along with four others, has been arrested as well. Speaking on the killing, chief minister Raghubar Das said the two men could have been involved in the smuggling of the buffaloes which is against the law in the state.
The relatives of the deceased, however, have claimed they were transporting eight oxen within the state. Interestingly, the buffaloes/oxen ‘vanished’ after the murders and are nowhere to be found.
Who will testify now?
We are not going to glorify communal angles and compromise on peace, but the murders are absolutely repugnant and inexcusable. Ever since the lotus bloomed two years ago, there has only been bloodshed in the name of religion and piety. Cows and others belonging to the family are revered as “godly” by Hindus, but nothing, absolutely nothing justifies killing of another human being.
Murders are punishable by law, condemned by not one but all religions. No one preaches blind hatred and cases so extreme are surfacing only now. While the erstwhile government thrived on public money, the present government is flourishing on gore and bloodshed.
The Narendra Modi-government is trying hard to strike a communal balance, with its pro-Islam, pro-peace speeches, but certain disreputable elements have been allowed too much leeway. This is the reason people are being killed in the name of ‘gau raksha’. Why have certain self-proclaimed cow vigilante groups been given so much power? Or are these groups suddenly feeling invincible with the saffron brigade in the Centre?
If what CM Das says is true, of the duo being involved in unlawful smuggling of cattle, was the barbarous killing justified even then? Are we not a country that respects law, judicial proceedings and wait years and years together, to get justice? Should the so-called vigilantes not have waited for trials, instead of taking the law for a ride?
Who were those cow protectors anyway, who pronounced their judgements and hanged two innocent persons to death? And what of the ‘protection’ they swore they would give to cows, oxen, bulls and buffaloes? Where are those animals they saved from getting smuggled?
The incident is a shameful act of communal hatred, aimed at inciting a social unrest; there is nothing more to it. The deceased cannot be brought back to life, but such incidents and loss of precious human lives should be condemned in the severest way possible. The accused must be served with a sentence in tandem with the brutality of the crime, so that such events never happen again.