MUMBAI: A family of Muslims were brutally attacked and robbed on Wednesday in the Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh, India while on-board a train, The Hindu reported.
According to a member of the family, Shakir, the men identified the family as Muslim after they noticed veil-clad women accompanying them on the Shikohabad-Kasgang passenger train.
According to The Hindu, Shakir said: “We were attacked with rods. They robbed us and molested the women. They did not spare even my 17-year-old mentally challenged son.”
“These people jumped inside the train, groped the women and snatched their chains,” Shakir said. “Some of the passengers who came to our rescue were attacked too.”
The Hindu reported that railway police have filed a case and detained three men in connection to the crime that left the family injured brutally.
In a separate incident on the same day, a Muslim man associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was assaulted on Wednesday in India’s Maharashtra state by Hindu cow vigilantes who, at the time, did not know that he was associated with the ruling party, Hindustan Times reported.
Ismail Shah, 36, was hospitalised with serious injuries after he was assaulted by members of the Prahar Sanghatana ─ “a social and cultural body” ─ who accused him of carrying beef, the Indian daily said.
On June 23, about 20 men attacked four Muslims on a train in the outskirts of New Delhi, fatally stabbing a teenager and seriously injuring two others.
The Muslim men said an argument over seats quickly turned into a brutal attack, with the mob accusing them of being “beef-eaters.”
Many members of the Hindu majority consider cows sacred. The slaughter of cows and eating of beef is illegal or restricted across much of India.
Much of the recent violence has been focused on cows.
Several fringe Hindu groups, apparently emboldened by the stunning political rise of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, have attacked Muslim cattle traders and dairy farmers.
Muslims constitute about 14 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion people, while Hindus comprise 80pc.
Rights groups say government officials, including the prime minister, have been slow to strongly condemn the attacks and that police action against perpetrators has been inadequate.
Five of the killings, almost all of them in broad daylight and in busy public areas, have taken place in the last three months.
On April 1, Pehlu Khan, a Muslim cattle trader, was lynched by a mob in the western state of Rajasthan as he transported cattle he had bought at an animal fair back to his home state of Haryana. Khan and his family were small dairy farmers.
In May, two Muslim men were beaten to death over allegations of cattle theft in India’s northeast.
Over the last two years, vigilante groups, who call themselves cow protectors, have become active in small towns and cities across India.
Even lower-caste Hindus who carry out undesirable tasks such as skinning dead cattle have faced mob violence.