Muslim cattle traders lynched by cow vigilantes in Chhattisgarh

(Photo: Unsplash/Ahsanization ?)

A brutal assault by an alleged cow vigilante mob in Chhattisgar’s Raipur district on Friday resulted in the death of two Muslim men and severe injuries to the third. The victims, identified as Chand Miya, 23, Guddu Khan, 35, and Saddam Khan, were transporting buffaloes from Uttar Pradesh to Odisha when the horrific incident unfolded.

The attack occurred in the early hours of Friday on the Mahanadi Bridge near Arang, merely three days after the conclusion of the 2024 Lok Sabha election, whose results have been interpreted by many as a rejection of the exploitation of communal issues in politics.

According to reports, a group of 10 to 12 individuals initiated pursuit of the truck transporting the cattle, accusing the men of cattle smuggling. Upon reaching the bridge, the assailants resorted to violent means, employing spikes to puncture the vehicle's tyres and force it to halt. They then proceeded to drag the occupants out and subject them to a brutal assault.

The bodies of Chand Miya and Guddu Khan were later discovered in the vicinity of the bridge, with one account suggesting they may have been thrown off the structure by the mob. Saddam Khan, who sustained critical injuries, is currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Raipur.

Local police officials have stated that they received information about the incident late night on May 6 and responded promptly. Upon arrival, they found one victim deceased and the other two critically injured, prompting their immediate transportation to the hospital, where one later succumbed to his injuries.

While the police are awaiting the post-mortem report to ascertain the precise causes of death, they have not ruled out the possibility that the victims may have jumped into the river out of fear, resulting in fatal injuries upon impact with rocks. Efforts are underway to record Saddam Khan's statement and piece together the events leading to the lynching.

The incident has sparked outrage and condemnation from various quarters, with the Congress party spokesperson in Chhattisgarh, Sushil Anand Shukla, denouncing the attack as highly unfortunate. Shukla emphasised that while cattle smuggling must be addressed through legal channels, taking the law into one's hands is unacceptable. He further criticised the state government for its failure to prevent such incidents.

The attack bears striking similarities to the surge in mob lynching incidents across North India in recent years, often fuelled by allegations of cow slaughter or the victims' religious identities.