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How ‘cow’ becomes cattle, ‘cow vigilantes’ become ‘mob’ and ‘Muslim man’ becomes ‘man’ when perpetrator is Muslim

The reporting was starkly different from when media reports incidents when Muslims are lynched by Hindus for exactly the same reasons.

A lot has been said and written about cow vigilantes and the havoc they have wreaked since 2014. The running narrative is that Hindus, who worship the cow are on a rampage to lynch and kill all Muslims who consume beef. However, there are certain instances of cow vigilantism that escape the outrage by the “liberals” mostly because the perpetrators are Muslims.

On 30th December, a Muslim man, Kabul Miyan was lynched to death by a mob on the suspicion of cow theft in Araria, Bihar. The ghastly incident took place after two cows and a calf was stolen from another Muslim man, Muslim Miyan, and the villagers were keeping a vigil to locate the cattle. When they said Kabul moving around suspiciously, they caught hold of him and thrashed him. Thereafter, Muslim Miyan’s cattle was reportedly found near the spot of the incident.

According to reports, the mob was led by a Muslim man called Mohammed Muslim. In a video of the gruesome attack that went viral, Mohammed can be seen laughing and encouraging the mob. During the preliminary investigation, it was revealed that Kabul had 13 cases registered against him in Sikati police station. Police officers are now trying to identify the people involved in the incident and take stern steps against them.

This incident, however, failed to inspire the kind of ire that several other lynchings inspired. There was no ‘Not in my name’ placards, nobody called India ‘lynchistan’ and there were no cries of justice for the Muslim man beaten to death, as there always is, ignoring the fact that this phenomenon is more of a law and order situation and not that of religion.

In fact, the reporting was starkly different from when media reports incidents when Muslims are lynched by Hindus for exactly the same reasons.

NDTV headlined their story, “Man, 55, Beaten To Death By Mob Over Alleged Cattle Theft In Bihar’s Araria”.

How NDTV reported the Araria incident

It was interesting to note how “Muslim man” became just “Man”, “Cow Vigilantes” became just a “mob” and “cow” became “cattle”. Starkly different from some of their other reportage about such instances.

How NDTV reported another incident from 2017

IndiaToday followed the same pattern. Their headline had the exact same keywords as the NDTV headline. Man. Cattle.

IndiaToday does an NDTV

Their reportage was, however, extremely different when allegedly, the mob was headed by one Anuj Bansal.

IndiaToday mentions “Muslim” and “cow” in another article where perpetrator was Hindu

IndianExpress of the “And they hanged him” fame could not be left behind in the media free fall.

Their headline was simple. Man lynched on suspicion of cattle theft.

Indian Express forgets to mention the religion of victim and ‘cow’ becomes ‘cattle’

While Indian Express has run several reports an opinion pieces where the Muslim card was played abundantly in other crimes. This one, for example, written by Harsh Mander.

Indian Express runs op-eds that play the Muslim victim card

While we have known for quite some time that Hindu victims don’t inspire sympathy from the media, just like the sadhus beaten to death by Muslims because they opposed cow-slaughter never got any attention, it is unfortunate to know that the headlines are watered down even when the victims are Muslims.

Evidently, it is not the religion of the victim that drives their outrage but the religion of the perpetrator. In cases where a Hindu is said to have committed the crime, the outrage that has ensued from the usual quarters have been high. In this case, for example, where the mob was led by a Muslim and the cow that was stolen was also of a Muslim, the headlines have been watered down to replace “cow” with “cattle” and there is no sign of “Muslim” or “Vigilantism” in the headline, as is the norm.

While this narrative has been used to demonise Hindus and the BJP alike, as soon as the government changed in Rajasthan from BJP to Congress, the media starting whitewashing the lynching incidents that were taking place in the state. From the ‘dara hus musalman’ narrative, the religion vanished and Sageer Khan became a nameless youth who was beaten up.


Often, it is seen that cases of mob violence are related to cows being stolen from those who depend on these animals for their livelihood. Just like in this case from Bihar. However, this aspect is summarily ignored by most “liberal” commentators because painting Hindus are out-of-control religious mobs suits their narrative of demonising Hindus.

Media seems to help actively in creating the narrative against Hindus, while the real issue of cow smuggling is pushed under the rug.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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