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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Mewat Gangrape – ‘Beefing’ Up a Conspiracy

The gang rape and robbery case in Mewat has taken ugly turns in the last week, when post the visit of professional social activist Shabnam Hashmi, the victims suddenly started claiming that the assailants told them that they were being raped for eating beef. Surprisingly, the victims never said this while filing an FIR, and the initial news reports do not carry any statements even hinting at beef consumption being the motive behind this gory crime which occurred around midnight on 24 Aug.

As per a detailed news report a day after the shocking incident took place, the entire episode seems like a case of robbery, murder and rape. As per one more news report after the FIR was filed, the victims confirmed that at least two of the assailants were in underclothes and smeared with oil, leading to suspicion that the dreaded Kachcha Baniyan gang were behind this crime.

Police have lodged a case under sections 459 (grievous hurt), 460 (trespass), 376 D (gang rape) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Arms Act. As per reports, the house where the gang rape occurred is situated near the Manesar-Palwal expressway and highway robbers are active here at night.

Kachcha Baniyan gang owes its history to the British who had passed laws certifying many tribal groups as criminal gangs long back. However, the gang has nothing to do with any religious ideology and has even robbed temples in the past. They are known to be active in North Bharat – especially Haryana, Western UP, and Rajasthan. Members of the Bawariya tribe, with similar modus operandi as Kachcha Baniyan gang, were arrested for the recent horrific gang rape in Bulandshahr. Kachcha Baniyan gang had also robbed and raped a nurse in Jaipur earlier this year.

Mewat is a district in Haryana with 75% Muslim population and is notorious for its over 100 criminal gangs and terror links – it is highly unlikely that cow vigilantes would be active in this area.

However, 2 weeks after the crime, victims brought up the beef angle for the first time in the presence of Shabnam Hashmi, and this was reported by . Were the victims tutored to give such a statement? To answer this question, we need to understand the background of Shabnam Hashmi.

Who is Shabnam Hashmi?

She is a 59 year old professional activist who was once a CPI-M member and founded a left leaning NGO ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) in 2003 ‘as a response to 2002 Gujarat riots’ – Marxist historian Prof. K N Panikkar and social activist Harsh Mander (who was also a key member of Sonia Gandhi’s NAC) being the other founding members of ANHAD. ANHAD is active in combating ‘communal forces’ in Gujarat and campaigns for ‘human rights’ in the Kashmir valley.

This article analyzes the source of foreign funds which facilitate Shabnam Hashmi’s activism – she received INR 1.66 crore in 2011-12 from donors like Christian Aid, Action Aid (which in turn is funded by MNCs like Google), Oxfam etc.

Shabnam Hashmi, along with Teesta Setalvad, was at the forefront of the ‘civil society’ cottage industry that tried to stop Narendra Modi from becoming PM of Bharat. She repeatedly called Modi’s Gujarat development model as myth, and exposed her rabid Modi hate by labeling him as ‘pheku‘.

Shabnam Hashmi and others in the anti-Modi cottage industry had peddled outright fabrications over 2002 riots such as the false ‘pregnant Muslim woman’s foetus was ripped out‘ story, and also tutored witnesses in the Best Bakery case. Hence it is very plausible that similar tactics are being used to politicize the Mewat gang rape.

Now, per a latest news report, police has confirmed that there is no involvement of cow vigilantes in this crime. Four men were arrested on 28 Aug itself for the crime, and investigations are ongoing.

As this particular case was proceeding, there were separate complaints received by police that there was widespread sale of biryani with cow meat (beef) in Mewat region. Cow Slaughter and beef are prohibited in Haryana. Post these complaints, the authorities collected random biryani samples and sent them to Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (LLRU). The lab spokesperson has confirmed that the samples tested positive for beef.

Is this addition of statement by victims after nearly two weeks, on coaching by anti-Hindu activists, a conspiracy aimed at protecting cattle traffickers and slaughterers? Not only this, does it also aim to defame a genuine movement of cow protection by targeting gau rakshaks?

There was a wide outcry on social media and people took to expressing that it was evident that gau rakshaks are unnecessarily targeted in this case by vested interests :

It is evident that the secular-leftist lobby is trying to misuse the cruel assault on the Mewat victims and giving it a communal angle when there is none. As if a rape is not heinous enough to generate outrage, ‘beef’ must be added on as part of the larger game.  

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