The communal riots in Nuh on July 31 and in Sohna and Gurugram on August 1, 2023, wherein six people were killed, was the result of an ecosystem built on frequent hate speech targeting the minority communities and that has been nurtured in the country in the recent past, concluded the fact-finding report of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS).
The CSSS regularly monitors communal violence in India. The fact-finding team looking into the communal riots in Nuh, Sohna and Gurugram consisted of Vikash Narain Rai, former director of the National Police Academy, Hyderabad and former DGP (law and order) Haryana; Dr Sandhya Mhatre (executive council member of the CSSS); and Neha Dabhade (executive director).
Elaborating on this ecosystem, Dabhade told this author that the Meo Muslims, who are agriculturists and dairy farmers living in the Mewat region spanning Haryana, Rajasthan and UP, were continuously badgered by cow vigilantes – interested more in extortion rather than the protection of cows – ever since the Haryana government passed the Cow Promotion and Protection Act in 2015.
The cow vigilantes, who describe themselves as “gau rakshaks”, have sprung up since the election of the BJP with an absolute majority at the Centre in 2014, as they enjoy impunity with the tacit patronage of those in power.
The ever-increasing and exorbitant extortion demands by the cow vigilante networks have made it nearly impossible for the Meo Muslim agriculturists to pursue the only livelihood available to them – agriculture and dairy farming with diminishing returns.
“The communal riots in Nuh that took place on 31st July 2023 is intricately linked with the systematic and blatant targeting of the Muslims in the region with no prospect of justice from the state. The residents have been aghast and resentful about how easily Muslim youth are kidnapped or abducted and murdered with the state doing little to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice,” states the report.
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