Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centred on bovine issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 86% of 28 Indians killed in 63 incidents, according to an IndiaSpend content analysis of the English media.
As many of 97 per cent of these attacks were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in May 2014, and about half the cow-related violence — 32 of 63 cases –were from states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when the attacks were reported, revealed our analysis of violence recorded until June 25, 2017.
Of the 28 Indians who died over the seven-year period, 24 were Muslim, or 86 per cent. As many as 124 people were also injured in these attacks. More than half (52 per cent) of these attacks were based on rumours, our analysis found.
National or state crime data do not distinguish general violence from cow-related attacks and lynchings; the IndiaSpend database is the first such statistical perspective to a growing national debate over such violence.
2017 is on track to be worst-ever year for cow-related violence.
In the first six months of 2017, 20 cow-terror attacks were reported — more than 75 per cent of the 2016 figure, which was the worst year for such violence since 2010.
The attacks include mob lynchings by vigilantes, murder and attempt to murder, harassment, assault and gang-rape. In two attacks, the victims/survivors were chained, stripped and beaten, while in two others, the victims were hanged.
These attacks — sometimes collectively referred to as gautankwad — a portmanteau of the Hindi words for cow and terrorism on social media — were reported from 19 of 29 Indian states, with Uttar Pradesh (10), Haryana (9), Gujarat (6), Karnataka (6), Madhya Pradesh (4), Delhi (4) and Rajasthan (4) reporting the highest number of cases.
No more than 21 per cent (13 of 63) of the cases were reported from southern or eastern states (including Bengal and Odisha), but almost half (six of 13) were from Karnataka. The only incident reported in the northeast was the murder of two men in Assam on 30 April, 2017.