A new report by ‘Human Rights Watch’ reveals the impact of ‘cow protection’ on agriculture, industries and India’s minorities. The report looks at the issue of cow-related violence and its impact on India’s minorities. The report analyses the socio-political, legal and economic issues around cattle trade and cow-related violence. Indian government should prevent and prosecute mob violence by vigilante groups targeting minorities in the name of cow protection, ‘Human Rights Watch’ said in a report.
Last year on 5 December, the Hindu reported April 2017 saw the highest number of cow vigilantism incidents in a month since 2012 and the number of incidents spiked in August 2018.
According to a FactChecker.in that tracks such crimes “since the BJP and Yogi Adityanath came to power in Uttar Pradesh in March 2017, India’s most populous state has recorded 69% of its cases of cow-related violence. Before March 2017, when Adityanath came to power, UP recorded five incidents of cow-related hate violence. After that, up to December 03, 2018, the state has now recorded 11 cases of bovine-related hate violence.
The report titled ‘Violent Cow Protection in India: Vigilante Groups Attack on Minorities’ begins by drawing attention to the political environment that has incubated this violence by vigilantes. It says that since the BJP has come to power in 2014, they “have increasingly used communal rhetoric that has spurred a violent vigilante campaign against beef consumption and those deemed linked to it”.
The report noticed that the cost of cow protection in India is rising year after year. The rising cost impacted agriculture, trade and livelihoods of those who are associated with cattle and its related industry such as farmers, herders, transporters, meat traders and leather workers.
Above 50% of India’s population is engaged in agriculture and dairy products. India is the largest milk producer in the world with 190 million cattle and 108 million buffaloes. India is also the largest beef exporter in the world.
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India’s massive meat and leather industries have seen a decline in the percentage of their growth. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry “the meat industry grew 35.93% in the year 2013-2014. Since the BJP took over the charge, the industry saw a huge drop and even shown negative growth in two years. The leather industry registered a huge growth of 18.36% in 2013-2014 while this growth halved in 2014-2105. The industry then saw a negative growth for two years, and has shown a growth of just 1.41% in 2017-2018”.
This HRW report carried out through the interviews of the experts and people engaged in supply of the cattle industry where they analyse the impact of the violence. Majority the meat shops and slaughter houses are largely run by Muslims while Carcasses of meat have mostly been disposed-off by Dalits. However, the risks, dealing with any form of meat, impacted the livelihoods of these communities.