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Post-Election Violence: Muslims Targeted in Spate of Mob Attacks Across India

After the general election results were announced on June 4, against all odds the Bhartiya Janta party regained power, we saw a slew of incidents on social media sparking fear amongst the minority communities in India.

A chain of attacks surfed on social media where acts of vandalism, mob lynchings, and property demolitions were seen.

On June 7, in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur, three Muslim men were beaten to death by cow vigilantes, while transporting buffaloes in a truck. The deceased, identified as Chand Miya and Guddu Khan, were found dead in the Mahanadi River. A third victim, Saddam Khan, was critically injured initially but succumbed to injuries ten days later while receiving treatment in the hospital. The victims were from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and were transporting the buffaloes to Odisha.

On June 8th, Maulana Farooq, the Imam of Masjid Shams in Navi Mumbai, was mercilessly slain by criminals in his hometown of Sonpur. It has been reported that a financial dispute between Farooq and certain villagers escalated into this horrifying act of violence. The perpetrators, who had lent money to Maulana Farooq, demanded repayment. When he requested more time to settle the debt. The confrontation turned violent when the miscreants attacked him with a shovel and rod, beating him to death in front of horrified onlookers.

Just a day later, in Julana, Haryana Cow vigilantes assaulted three men over transporting cattle.

On June 10, in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Riverfront Project took a toll on the residents of the Akbarnagar area in Lucknow, the state’s capital. 

The locality was home to around 10,000 residents with approximately 1,200 homes and livelihoods before being bulldozed entirely. 

On the same day, Maulana Akram, an imam of a mosque in Rampur district, was shot dead by unidentified miscreants outside his house. Maulana Akram had dutifully served as an imam and had been entrusted with the supervision of the mosque for the past 15 years.

On June 12, the Rakhial area of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation witnessed the demolition of the Madni Masjid. The administration had initially mentioned that only the first floor of the Mosque would be demolished. However, the legally built ground floor of Wazu Khana built adjacent was also demolished.

On June 13th, Bajrang Dal members in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, attacked a Muslim man, accusing him of “love jihad” simply for being with a girl from a different faith. 

That same day, an Elderly Muslim man Iqbal, his wife, and daughter-in-law were beaten brutally with sticks by 6 Hindu men in Sindh Wali village in Muzaffarnagar Uttar Pradesh. 

On June 14, the House of a Muslim man was bulldozed on suspicion of throwing body parts of a cow in Jagannath temple premises in Javra of Ratlam dist, Madhya Pradesh.

The following day, June 15, in Pachgaon, Mewat, Haryana, armed cow vigilantes raided a village and brutally attacked two Muslim men, accusing them of cattle slaughter and the sale of beef.

In another incident on the night of June 15th, a violent mob attacked a madrasa in Telangana’s Medak district, causing injuries to at least eight individuals. The attack took place when cattle were being transported for Eid to Minhaj-ul-uloom Madrasa, but were intercepted by Hindu right-wing groups near the madrasa.

In Dhule, Maharashtra, on the same day, cow vigilantes vandalized a vehicle and assaulted its occupants on allegations of cattle transportation.

In Nagar Patti, Dhule, Maharashtra, the very same day, cow vigilantes went as far as setting up a checkpoint to target auto rickshaws carrying Muslim passengers. They aimed to inspect for beef. Four rickshaws were handed over to the police based on allegations of transporting beef.

Adding to the list of troubling incidents, on June 16, cow vigilantes stormed a Muslim house in Khorda town, Odisha, seizing all the meat and their fridge over alleged suspicions of beef storage. Whereas in another town of Odisha named Balasore Curfew was imposed from midnight of June 17 to midnight of June 18, following an internet shutdown in the area. Protesting the blood of animal sacrifice on the road, a group of people sat on dharna in the Bhujakhia Pir area of the town on Monday. The other group allegedly hurled stones at them, following which the clash broke out.

On June 18, marking this to be the second incident in Haryana, a Muslim meat shop owner and two Hindu men who were there to buy chicken were assaulted by a group of cow vigilantes.

Another incident occurred in Pakri, Basti, Uttar Pradesh, on June 19. Bajrang Dal goons attacked a rickshaw driver under the suspicion that he was carrying a bag of beef.

On June 19, another troubling activity sparked tension when a Hindutva mob attacked a Muslim man’s shop in front of the police, looting and vandalizing it after he shared a picture of a buffalo sacrifice on his WhatsApp status in Himachal.

Adding to this, on June 19 in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, a case of mistaken identity led to a brutal attack on Aurangzeb. Mistaken for theft, he was beaten mercilessly by a Hindu mob, resulting in severe injuries.

On June 22 In Chikhodra, Gujarat Salman Vohra a 23 years old Muslim man who had gone to watch a cricket tournament was beaten to death by a group of men, while the Hindu extremist crowd nearby cheered “maaro-maaro” and chanted “ Jai shree Ram”.

The series of attacks against one particular community continue to go unchecked without any accountability from mainstream media and the leaders in power.

Human Rights Watch has urged India’s new government to reverse laws and policies that discriminate against religious minorities and other vulnerable groups and to cease the crackdown on civil society and the media. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was sworn in on June 9, 2024, Human Rights Watch called for an agenda that actively promotes and protects human rights, strengthens democratic institutions, and upholds the rule of law. They emphasized the need to ensure every Indian’s right to an adequate standard of living, including access to food, education, health, and social security.

“India’s new government should end the use of counterterrorism laws and other abusive measures that deprive activists, journalists, and others of their rights,” said Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should engage with its critics, protect freedom of expression and assembly, and provide room for dissent instead of silencing opponents.”

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