Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Sabrang India
In yet another incident of hate crime, ten members of a Muslim family were assaulted on Friday by a mob on board a passenger train near Farrukhabad of Uttar Pradesh.
According to reports, a gang of youth ruthlessly assaulted the family with iron rods and sticks, and robbed them. The victims were later taken to a local hospital where they were treated for serious physical injuries. The victims included women, who were reportedly molested, and a differently-abled child, who was also thrashed by the mob.
The video of the incident has surfaced on social media and is being widely circulated by internet users denouncing the attack on members of the minority community.
Another family member told media that the assailants groped the women family members, tore their clothes and later robbed all the jewellery the family was carrying with them.
The family was returning home after attending a wedding, reports said. They told media that they were targeted for looking “different”, for being Muslims.
The police claimed they have so far arrested three suspects in the incident and are questioning them. The investigation has been initiated, a senior police official told the media.
Attacks against minorities and Dalits in India have sharply increased after the BJP came to power in 2014, and the attack in Farrukhabad is the latest such incident. Earlier in June, 15-year old Junaid was stabbed to death by assailants in a local train in Haryana while returning home with four family members after Eid shopping.
The incidents of mob lynching, especially by vigilante “cow-protection squads”, have seen a spike in the country as the current political dispensation is being viewed as condoning gangs unleashing attacks in the name of “cow protection”.
After dozens of mob attacks against minorities occurred across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke against such attacks on June 29. "Killing people in the name of 'gau bhakti' is not acceptable," he said in his home-state of Gujarat.
The attacks, however, have hardly subsided as violence by the cow-protection vigilante groups and incidents of hate crimes have failed to show any signs of decline.
The rise in the number of attacks on minorities in Uttar Pradesh is also seen in the backdrop of the BJP choosing Yogi Adityanath, who has led vicious communal campaigns such as “ghar vapsi”, as the Chief Minister. The choice of a person who has made frequent anti-Muslim remarks to lead India’s most populous state had raised the apprehension that the lives of minorities could become increasingly insecure under BJP rule.
For people belonging to minority communities, travelling on highways has become difficult in the wake of increasing incidents of hate crimes across the country.