October 17, 2018
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India continues to battle growing problem of lynchings against minorities

Kolgaon, India, Aug 10 (EFE).- Even as India continued to outrage on Friday over increasing cases of lynchings, especially against minorities, scores of cases perished without justice, including that of Rakbar Khan.

Khan, a muslim man, was returning home after buying two cows toward the end of July when he was accosted by a group of men, who accused him of bootlegging cows (considered holy by India's majority Hindu population) and lynched him to death.

The incident left his seven children without a father, and, according to the India Spend website, took the total number of lynching victims to 30 so far this year.

"They broke both his hands and legs, and his neck. He was hit so badly in the ribs that it tore his lungs & kidney because of which he died on the spot," the victim's cousin Mohammad Akbar, told EFE.

Khan had worked in a stone quarry, earning between 200 and 300 rupees (between $2.9 and $4.3) per day, besides rearing livestock, such as the cows he had bought on the day he was killed.

Just three days before the incident, the Supreme Court of India had criticized lynchings in the country and urged the Parliament to create a law specifically to check cases of lynchings.

Many of the lynching victims in the country were accused of kidnapping children, while others were killed by right-wing cow vigilantes over accusations of eating beef or smuggling cows.

Lawyer and politician Prashant Bhushan told EFE that the last time India witnessed such organized, collective violence was in 2002, when current Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed the government in the western state of Gujarat.

In 2002, more than 1,100 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in riots that broke out after Hindu pilgrims were killed after a train was torched.

Now the central government as well as the states, where most of the lynchings have occured, "are controlled by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is promoting such mob violence," Bhushan told EFE.

Human Rights organizations in the country, too, had raised concerns over increasing number of lynchings being reported from across the country.

"Our the concern is actually that we have not seen a clear response from the state... we should have a strong statement from the BJP (against these attacks)," HRW South Asia head Meenakshi Ganguly told EFE, underlining that lack of strong official action has encouraged right-wing groups.

Weeks have now passed since the lynching of Rakbar Khan and three of the four attackers have been arrested.

Rakbar's widow Asmina continues to mourn his death in her house, far removed from the continuing outcry in the country.

"My kids will be orphans. I want justice." she told EFE.

By Elena Granados

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