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HomeNewsWho's Monu Manesar, Indian vigilante accused of inciting Haryana violence? Receive US

Who’s Monu Manesar, Indian vigilante accused of inciting Haryana violence? Receive US

Nuh, India – In February this 12 months, two Muslim males have been kidnapped and allegedly burned alive of their automotive by a bunch of cow vigilantes in India’s northern state of Haryana.

Because the charred skeletons of the 2 males – Nasir Hussain, 28, and Junaid Khan, 35 – have been found inside an SUV automotive within the state’s Bhiwani district, the primary accused, 28-year-old Mohit Yadav, turned a poster boy of cow vigilantism in India and a topic of intensive public scrutiny.

Haryana is ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Celebration (BJP) authorities, which has been accused of patronising Yadav, higher generally known as Monu Manesar, and stopping his arrest in quite a few such circumstances of cow-related assaults and even killings.

Many Hindus belonging to the privileged castes think about cows sacred. The sale and consumption of beef are banned in a number of Indian states, largely within the north.

Dozens of Muslims have been lynched on suspicion of killing or transporting cows since 2014 in assaults critics say have been enabled by the rise of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi to energy.

How is Manesar linked to Nuh violence?

In Nuh, Haryana’s solely Muslim-majority district, Manesar heads the native cow safety unit of the Bajrang Dal, the far-right youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP), which in flip is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor.

Based in 1925, the RSS goals to create an ethnic Hindu state out of a constitutionally secular and religiously various India. The secretive organisation has thousands and thousands of lifetime members internationally’s most populous nation and in addition overseas.

On July 31, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal determined to take out a non secular procession via Nuh, with many members carrying swords, tridents, sticks and firearms, and allegedly elevating anti-Muslim slogans.

Two days earlier than the procession, a Fb video went viral, exhibiting Manesar exhorting Hindus to congregate “in giant numbers” for the procession in Nuh, saying he will even be there.

In response to the police and the Hindu teams, the largely Muslim residents of Nuh, indignant over the February killings of Nasir and Junaid and different such incidents involving Manesar, attacked their procession with stones and burned some automobiles alongside the freeway.

Nuh’s Muslims, in flip, accuse the Hindu teams of beginning the violence, by which at the least six individuals, together with two Bajrang Dal members and two police guards, certainly one of them Muslim, have been killed.

Quickly, the violence unfold to the neighbouring Gurugram district the place a mosque was attacked and its imam crushed and stabbed to loss of life.

In response to the violence, greater than 1,000 properties – largely belonging to Muslims – have been bulldozed by the Haryana authorities in Nuh, forcing an Indian court docket to ask if it was an “train of ethnic cleaning”.

Final week, a number of village councils within the area and a number one farmers’ group demanded Manesar’s rapid arrest to revive communal concord and peace within the area, lower than 100km (62 miles) from the nationwide capital, New Delhi.

However he stays at giant as anger over police inaction continues to simmer in Nuh and Gurugram.

What else is Manesar accused of?

Since his school days, Manesar, who holds a polytechnic diploma in engineering, has been a member of the Bajrang Dal, a bunch with a decades-old historical past of attacking minorities, primarily Muslims and Christians.

He was solely 21 when a horrifying video, once more from Haryana, exhibiting him and his males attacking Muslims went viral in the summertime of 2016. The video confirmed two Muslim males, their faces swollen and bloodied, being pressured to eat cow dung after they have been crushed for allegedly transporting beef.

Such movies are shared extensively by right-wing Hindu teams on social media and WhatsApp teams to terrorise Muslims and different minorities. Quickly, Manesar started to realize notoriety as a hardline vigilante.

His YouTube channel gained a silver play button for having over 200,000 subscribers whereas his Fb web page boasted of greater than 83,000 followers.

His posts largely featured movies of high-speed chases and crashes, males flashing firearms and firing at vehicles allegedly carrying beef, and photographs and movies of injured males, often Muslims, attacked by his group. Some photographs confirmed him with highly effective politicians and officers, together with Dwelling Minister Amit Shah.

Regardless of Meta and Google taking down his Fb and YouTube pages respectively earlier this 12 months, his movies are nonetheless shared extensively by quite a few fan pages run by right-wing teams and people.

In the meantime, Manesar began appearing in debates on pro-BJP information channels, the place he defended his violent cow vigilantism and assaults on Muslims.

In 2021, Manesar was invited to talk at a mahapanchayat, or a grand council of villages, known as in help of some Hindu males accused of murdering a Muslim health club coach, Asif Khan, who was additionally from Nuh.

On the mahapanchayat, Manesar was launched as somebody who shoots and will get shot at by “cow-smugglers”. In his speech, Manesar requested the group to arrange an inventory of Muslim males allegedly concerned in “love jihad” – a far-right conspiracy concept that believes Muslim males goal Hindu ladies via romance and marriage with the intention to convert them to Islam.

Manesar vowed his group would kill these Muslims.

What do Muslims in Haryana allege?

After the killings of Hussain and Khan in February, a number of victims got here out in public with chilling testimonies and video proof of torture posted on-line by the vigilante teams. The calls for to arrest Manesar and his associates grew.

Imran Khan informed Al Jazeera his cousin, Waris Khan, a bike mechanic, was additionally allegedly lynched by Manesar’s gang a couple of weeks earlier than Nasir and Junaid have been murdered.

Whereas police claimed Waris’ loss of life was an accident, a video appeared exhibiting him and two different males being forcibly shoved right into a automotive. The person taking pictures the video asks the lads to inform their names on digital camera.

Imran alleged the video was telecast stay on Manesar’s Fb web page and confirmed Waris injured and bleeding, hours earlier than he succumbed to his accidents at a authorities hospital in Nalhar.

He mentioned the video has now been deleted and could be independently verified by the authorities.

In recent times, Nuh, often known as Mewat, has grow to be a simple goal for vigilante raids beneath the garb of cow safety, including to anger and mistrust amongst its residents.

“There was anger in the entire village when Monu Manesar was not arrested after Nasir and Junaid’s homicide. If he was not given impunity by the federal government, he wouldn’t be roaming free. If he had not launched his video earlier than the July 31 procession in Nuh, riots wouldn’t have taken place,” Maksood Khan, a 22-year-old truck driver from neighbouring Rajasthan state, informed Al Jazeera.

Hindu teams maintain a gathering in Gurugram, Haryana in help of accused Monu Manesar after the killing of Nasir and Junaid in February this 12 months [File: Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images]

Nasir Hussain and Junaid Khan belonged to Maksood’s village in Rajasthan.

Nuh-based lawyer Tahir Hussain Devla alleged Manesar himself was a cow smuggler.

“He’s the largest cow smuggler in Mewat. He extorts cash from vehicles for letting them cross via his space,” he informed Al Jazeera.

Residents in Nuh blame Manesar and Bittu Bajrangi, one other cow vigilante, for the latest violence.

Chaudhary Aftab Ahmad, the member of the legislative meeting from Nuh, accused the authorities of not appearing regardless of his warning of potential violence in his constituency.

“There was positively a terror of violence earlier than the procession. It was build up via movies of Monu Manesar and Bittu Bajrangi on social media. I had flagged this to the SP [superintendent of police] of Nuh a day earlier than via phone that the scenario might get uncontrolled. They assured me that they’re conscious of all of the issues,” he informed Al Jazeera.

How have the governments responded?

Raman Malik, the BJP spokesman in Haryana, rejected the demand for Manesar’s arrest. “Why ought to Monu Manesar be arrested?” he informed Al Jazeera.

When he was reminded of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s assertion on August 2 calling Manesar a prison and vowing to assist the Rajasthan police in nabbing him, Malik replied: “Then the Rajasthan police ought to do it. Why ought to we do one thing that isn’t our duty?”

Malik mentioned Manesar is already cooperating with the police investigation and so there isn’t a must arrest him. “If there’s a risk of him fleeing or not cooperating with the police, then they are going to act accordingly,” he mentioned.

In June, Manesar informed The Indian Categorical newspaper he was not absconding. “I haven’t bought a discover from any police, Rajasthan or Haryana. In the event that they name me for questioning, I’ll cooperate,” he mentioned.

In the meantime, the Haryana and Rajasthan governments are concerned in a blame sport over appearing towards him. In a information convention on August 2, Khattar mentioned: “Because the Rajasthan police is trying to find him, we don’t have the inputs on his whereabouts. Rajasthan police is free to behave towards him.”

The following day, his Rajasthan counterpart Ashok Gehlot posted on X, the platform previously generally known as Twitter, alleging that when Rajasthan police went to arrest Manesar, the Haryana police didn’t cooperate and as a substitute registered a report towards some Rajasthan law enforcement officials.

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