Soon after JDU and BJP formed government, Bihar witnessed a case of cow vigilantism. The 30-year -old meat trader Alimuddin Ansari succumbed to his injuries, after he was assaulted by at least 10 men who intercepted his van carrying “cattle meat” in Ramgarh district near Ranchi.
According to reports, the first alert about the truck was posted on a WhatsApp group ‘Bhojpur news’, run by Chandan Pandey. Pandey is the BJP’s Shahpur town general secretary. On the night of August 2, he posted that the truck, bound for West Bengal ,was about to cross the town from Ranisagar, which is five km away. By 2 am, a group of 15 BJP and Bajrang Dal workers reached the petrol pump in town to intercept the truck, said sources. The truck has been seized and meat samples have been sent for laboratory tests.
“Within 96 hours of the formation of the new government you have the first case of mob lynching. This also exposes the myth which Mr. Prime Minister tries to convey; that BJP and RSS have nothing to do with cow vigilantism. These lynch mobs get emboldened from the philosophy of the regime that rules Delhi,” Manoj Jha of RJD stated to Newsclick.
The Section 3 of The Bihar Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act, 1955, prohibits “the slaughter of cows, calves, bulls, bullocks or she-buffaloes unless expressly given permission by the authorities. Authorities can only permit this when the bull or bullock is over 25 years of age and incapable of breeding or yielding milk or a female buffalo over 25 years of age.”
On August 4, local residents and police sources told The Indian Express that local BJP leaders Chandan Pandey, Ankit Pandey, Rakesh Tiwary and Pankaj Tiwari, and Bajrang Dal activists Nishu Rao, Krishna Kant Singh and Dhoni were among some, who stopped the truck.
Following the incident, protests were held in Shahpur, over the police’s inability to take any action in tackling the illegal meat trade. Later on, the police arrested four persons allegedly linked to the business, including one Sarfuddin Khan, the owner of an illegal slaughterhouse and Ajmullah Khan from Bikramganj and Gulam Khan of Hariharganj in Rohtas district, who were allegedly present in the truck.
According to the data collected by Newsclick, only one other incident of cow vigilantism has taken place in Bihar, since 2013. A driver of a pick-up van was suspected to have been blinded in his left eye, after he was attacked for allegedly scaring a cow by honking the horn.
In the name of protecting cows, gau-rakshaks have attacked and killed people in several parts of the country. At least 63 cases of attacks and lynchings have taken place since Narendra Modi came to power. Thirty people were murdered by cow vigilante lynch mobs, since 2015. The victims were mostly from minority and socially disadvantaged communities. A state which had hardly seen any lynching in the name of cow, witnessed a case of cow vigilantism so soon after BJP became part of the government.