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Maharashtra: Muslim Driver Assaulted by Pranin Foundation Cow Vigilantes in Malegaon Over ‘Beef Transportation’

A Muslim driver was assaulted by a group of cow vigilantes for alleged transporting of beef in Malegaon, Maharashtra on Saturday, December 31. The perpetrators are affiliated with the Pranin Foundation — a non-profit organization established by Neha Patel for “cow protection”, which has a history of targeting Muslims. 

In a video that surfaced on the internet, the vigilantes are seen saying abusive slurs as they take over the truck fallen on its side and beat up the driver inside, using sticks. The victim, Sheikh Ikhlaq Khurshid said that the truck was loaded in Jalgaon, and he met with the disastrous event while on his way to Malegaon. 

One of the members while reporting the incident in the video claims, “The truck was spotted speeding towards Malegaon from Chalisgaon, loaded with meat,’ accusing the driver of transporting the beef.”

More than 10 vigilantes are seen surrounding the truck, beating up the driver, and throwing slurs while attacking.

In the video, a member can be heard claiming “Pranin Foundation adhyaksh Neha Patel innke maadhyam se, aur Vashi Sharma, inke ashirvad se yeh gaadi chaligaon aur malegaon road pe pakda hai. (Through Pranin Foundation President Neha Patel, and with the blessings of Vashi Sharma, this vehicle has been caught on the road between Chaligaon and Malegaon)”. 

Vashi Sharma is the head of another cow vigilante organization named Agniveer, whom Pranin Foundation is reported to have frequently collaborated with.

The statements in the video are another evidence of their collaboration. Agniveer Foundation, which is affiliated with the Jan Swabhiman Welfare Society, another non-profit organization, has also been involved in activities such as “cow-protection”, “silencing adharma”, harassing Christians over “forceful conversions”, intervening inter-faith marriages etc. 

Pranin Foundation was established in 2009 in Gujarat and registered itself in June 2014, a month after Narendra Modi took into power as the Prime Minister of India.

In an interview with DO Politics, Patel said that she has an extensive network of militia recruits at her disposal in multiple states like Assam, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Ghaziabad while expressing her plans to expand further into South India.

According to reports, Neha Patel has strong affiliations with right-wing groups like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Moreover, Neha Patel has also been given the title of “the only female Gau Rakshak (cow vigilante)” in an article published in Hindustan Times in 2016.

Looking up to far-right leaders Sanjeev Newar and Vashi Sharma as mentors, Patel leads various cow-vigilante teams in their activities. Newar is the founder of Agniveer and is reported to have received a “cultural warrior ” award from  Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

A social media user has called out on the act asking how the police allowed them to take law and order in their hands. 

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