Dubai: Just days after two Muslim men were beaten to death on suspicion of cattle theft in Jharkhand, social media users in India reacted with outrage at the news of a Muslim farmer, who was attacked and killed by a mob in Uttar Pradesh earlier today, for apparently the same reason.
But, facts are far from this.
Indian news channel Times Now reported that the incident happened 80km from New Delhi, in a village called Hapur.
The farmer, Qasim, and his friend were in fact shooing away a buffalo and a calf that had wandered onto his field.
However, the locals suspected the two to be cattle thieves and attacked them.
Roumya Chandra, a Kolkata-based event planner, reacted to the news on Facebook: “One more lynching in India. This country is plagued by Hindutva hysteria.”
While his friend is recuperating, 45-year-old Qasim succumbed to his injuries and was declared dead when brought to the hospital.
Tweep @NomaniZia shared a picture of the farmer’s final resting place, stating: “Md Qasim, a cattle trader who was lynched to death yesterday at Bajhera Khurd in Hapur district, was laid to rest this morning in his village Saddiqpura in the same district. #RIPQasim”
Md Qasim, a cattle trader who was lynched to death yesterday at Bajhera Khurd in Hapur district, was laid to rest this morning in his village Saddiqpura in the same district.#RIPQasim pic.twitter.com/YXJd67nwt4— Zia Nomani (@NomaniZia) June 19, 2018
The news is horrifying social media users, with many Indians responding with shock and dismay.
Shams Al Rehman Alavi @indscribe tweeted: “Reports of a man getting lynched in Hapur, UP. Two persons were attacked, one of them, Qasim, succumbed. That was just because someone claimed they were carrying cattle. Heart-rending images in the video clip, can’t share it. #Lynching #Hatecrime”
According to Indian media, Hapur police initially refused to call it a cattle-related case. Officials had said the death occurred after a collision between two motorcycles in Hapur, during which, one of the motorcyclists beat two people who were on the other vehicle.
But tweeps brought attention to the video of the lynching incident, which is going viral, and shows the injured farmer collapsing in a field, begging the silent mob for water.
Since then, Hapur police replied to the video on Twitter. @hapurpolice tweeted: "In reference to the incident, Thana Pilkhuva has registered an indictment against two of the accused. Efforts to arrest the remaining accused are continuing."
A police official also posted a video, in response.
Many are pointing the blame at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, which has done little to nothing to curb such incidents or penalise those involved.
Mohammad Asif Khan @imMAK02 shared the video on Twitter and wrote: “One more achievement of Modi’s ‘GauVernment’ [bovine-focused governance].”
2 persons were attacked by Cow Terrorists in Hapur, UP . Someone "claimed" that they were carrying cattle (Not slaughtering) and Cow Terrorists attacked them . One man Qasim (45yo), succumbed .
One more achievement of Modi GauVernment @Uppolice pic.twitter.com/0L1EArai0j— Md Asif Khan (@imMAK02) June 19, 2018
@KhalidFaridi199 tweeted: “My fear now is the family of these two men will be prosecuted, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) mob will be decorated, police will launch investigation against dead and alive.”
My fear is now family of these 2 will b prosecuted, the rSS mob will b decorated, police will launch investigation against dead and alive— Khalid Faridi (@KhalidFaridi199) June 19, 2018
Just last week, two Muslim men, accused of stealing 13 buffaloes, were beaten to death in Godda, Jharkhand, by a mob of villagers. A first instance report (FIR) was filed against four people involved, but 100 other unknown persons are yet to be arrested.
Ahmad Rizvi, an advocate based in India, posted his views on Facebook: “I seek to leave India after lynching of Qasim and allegations of cow slaughter… Government is not providing security to minorities. Accused are acquitted by court of law, victim’s family is harassed.”
Some social media users questioned whether hatred and violence is the new norm in India, where such incidents seem to occur every few days – whether in villages or in metropolitan cities.
Yesterday, twitter users raged at a display of bigotry when tweep Pooja Singh @pooja303singh contacted Indian telecom provider Bharti Airtel Limited customer support on Twitter, and told them she didn’t want to deal with a Muslim customer care agent. She requested for a Hindu customer service representative.
Tweep @hi_paresh highlighted how hatred and public displays of bigotry have become widespread in India: “Can’t really blame Airtel or any other service provider for not acting against the rabid hate mongers for their routine Muslim hatred because it will mean taking action against at least 31% of the total population/subscriber base.”
Can't really blame Airtel or any other service provider for not acting against the rabid hate mongerers for their routine Muslim hatred because it will mean taking action against atleast 31% of the total population/subscriber base.— Paresh (@hi_paresh) June 19, 2018
For @tweet2el, the state of affairs today portrays India in a poor light: “Remember how CEOs of Google, Microsoft & other such corporates stood by Muslims when Trump introduced the travel ban? In India, they would just stop hiring Muslims. It’s getting worse. No respite. Perfect example was @Airtel_Presence’s cowardly reply to that bigot…”
Finally, after facing a lot of social media anger, Bharti Airtel Limited issued a statement through their account @Airtel_Presence: “Dear Pooja, at Airtel, we absolutely do not differentiate between customers, employees and partners on the basis of caste or religion. We would urge you to do the same....”