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Beef Ban Frenzy Claims Third Life: Now In Kashmir

By Countercurrents.org

18 October, 2015

The Hindtuva fundamentalist led beef ban campaign in India has consumed another life. 18-year-old trucker Zahid Rasool Bhat S/o Ghulam Rasool Bhat of Batengoo in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, who had sustained 70 per cent burn injuries in petrol bomb attack by a violent mob in Udhampur district on October 9, succumbed to injuries in Safdarjang hospital in New Delhi today.

Zahid along with another Kashmiri trucker and a policeman were injured when a violent mob had hurled petrol bomb towards their truck and assaulted them on October 9 evening after rumours had spread that three cows were slaughtered.

The tests, however, have revealed that the cows had died of food poisoning and had no injuries.

After Zahid’s death, tension is prevailing across the Kashmir Valley and people especially youth took to roads at many places and staged anti-government demonstrations.

Anticipating trouble, authorities deployed police and paramilitary personnel in large numbers in sensitive areas in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley to maintain law and order.

Top separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah and trader bodies Kashmir Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) have called for complete shutdown in the Valley tomorrow against the killing of Kashmiri trucker in the attack carried out by “activists of saffron parties.”

Last week Independent MLA Er Abdur Rashid was beaten up inside the Jammu & Kashmir assembly by BJP MLAs for organising a beef party to protest the imposition of beef ban in Jammu & Kashmir.

Cow Slaughter was banned in Jammu & Kashmir by the Jammu Bench of High Court citing a law enacted in the nineteenth century during the rule of Dogra Maharajas. However a full bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court on October 16th set aside the order saying it was for the state government and the legislature to consider the issue.

The bench was constituted after the Supreme Court kept in abeyance for two months the order of the division bench of the state High Court in Jammu passed on September 9, directing the police authorities to enforce the more than century-old beef ban in the state.

However, a week later, another division bench of the court in Srinagar, while admitting a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the penal sections regulating ban on bovine slaughter and beef sale, had issued notices to the state government directing it to file a response within one week.

On October 5 Supreme Court of India had asked J&K Hight Court to resolve the beef ban issue as division benches of the High Court - one in Srinagar and another in Jammu - had differed over the matter. The state government had approached the Supreme Court against the two diverging orders of the High Court.

Jammu & Kashmir is ruled by a strange coalition of fiercely Kashmiri nationalistic Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Hindutva fundamentalist BJP.

This is the third such killing in India over beef in three weeks. On 28 September a mob lynched a 50-year-old man, Mohammed Akhlaq, over the rumours of eating and storing beef. The Muslim man's killing on 28 September led to a massive outrage across the country. Several noted writers and poets are still surrendering their prestigious awards, mostly Sahitya Akademi, to register their protest over the incident and the Centre's prolonged silence on the issue.

In Himachal Pradesh a 28 year old truck driver Noman was lynched to death by a mob in the presence of police on October 16th allegedly for smuggling cow.

BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj on Saturday had called for a law that provides for death penalty for cow slaughter and defended his party MLAs beating up Sheikh Abdul Rashid in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly as a “natural reaction” to the independent legislator’s action.

After keeping silent on the Dadri lynching for three weeks Prime Minister Narendra Modi who belongs to the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had earlier this week said in Bihar election rally that the Dadri incident "unfortunate", but added that his government had nothing to do with them.



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