By Subhashini Ali
The incidents of February 16 that began near Peruka on the border between Rajasthan and Haryana and ended in the Nuh area in Bhiwani district of Haryana, are notable not only for the barbarity and cruel violence meted out to two Muslims, Junaid and Nasir but also for what they reveal about the collusion between the Haryana police and cow vigilantes and the complete impunity with which the latter are allowed to perpetrate crimes in the name of ‘gau seva’ (cow protection).
The details are well-known. Nasir and Junaid had left home in a Bolero to visit some relatives. On their return, in Peruka, they were chased and stopped by a group of gaurakshaks in Peruka. They were beaten brutally and taken half-dead to the local police station in Nuh. The police refused to take charge of them and the Gaurakshaks then took them and their vehicle to Loharu and set the vehicle on fire. Nasir and Junaid were burnt to death.
In the FIR filed by their family members, prominent gaurakshaks of the area were named. The most notorious of them is Monu Yadav alias Manesar who lives in Nuh. He moves openly with firearms and posts videos on social media in which he is seen beating ‘cow smugglers’, forcing them to eat cow dung, chasing and firing at their vehicles.
The Haryana police has now accepted that three of those named in the FIR are their informers. Behind this nexus between the police and gaurakshaks is a less-known but extremely dangerous fact: the BJP government of Haryana which passed a draconian Cow Protection Act in 2015, followed it up in 2021 with a notification that established a Special Cow Protection Task Force in each district. In each district, the 11-member task force is allowed to nominate five non-official members of whom two are to be picked from the local gaurakshak committees. What this means is that gaurakshak members, all of whom belong to the Bajrang Dal and other saffron outfits, have been given official sanction to intervene in various ways in all incidents that they consider to be linked with cow-smuggling or cow slaughter. In fact they now form a band of vigilantes with official sanction to take the law into their own hands and disperse summary ‘justice’.
In this particular case, it is only because the Rajasthan police is involved, that not only have many disclosures been made but one of the main accused, Rinku Saini, has been arrested and Monu Yadav has been forced to ‘abscond’.
The VHP, BJP and others are focusing their fire on the Rajasthan police against whom an FIR has been filed for allegedly having used excessive force in arresting the accused. They are also vociferously protesting the innocence of those accused in the murder of Junaid and Nasir. Interestingly enough, a Haryana policeman has been recorded in a ‘sting operation’ reported by none other than Opindia, a pro-BJP, right-wing media outlet, as saying that Rinku is definitely guilty.
In order to garner sympathy for the accused, a mahapanchayat (attended apparently by only about 80 people) was organised in Bhiwani where a local panchayat leader threatened the Rajasthan police saying ‘if they dare to come here they will leave without their feet.’ Of course, the mahapanchayat was held and this and other objectionable statements made with the administration and police in attendance.
Despite the horrific nature of the incident and the fact that police forces of two states are pitted against each other, neither the chief minister of Haryana nor the home minister of the country have found it fit to comment on this.
As it stands, however, one thing is crystal clear. While in the entire country there is concern about attacks on the constitution by the BJP government, in Haryana at least, the writ of the constitution no longer runs as far as Muslims are concerned. (IPA Service)