Man killed in new cow lynching in India

In this photograph taken on March 26, 2019, Indian cow caretakers stand next to stray cattle at a temporary shelter in Pilani in Rajasthan. (AFP / Money Sharma)
Updated 14 April 2019
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Man killed in new cow lynching in India

  • HRW says 44 people died in cow-related violence since May 2015 by Hindu vigilantes.
  • Cow slaughter and the consumption of beef is illegal in 20 states of India
NEW DELHI: Indian police said Saturday one man was killed and three injured in an attack by a mob while they were skinning a dead ox, in the latest case of so-called cow lynching.
The animal is revered by Hindus and according to Human Rights Watch, 44 people died in cow-related violence between May 2015 and December last year by Hindu vigilantes.
Opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi say that such groups have become emboldened since his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in 2014.
The latest incident happened in the eastern state of Jharkhand late on Thursday when men from a local Christian community were skinning the carcass of an ox in a field.
“The men were armed with iron rods and sticks and attacked the group of skinners brutally,” said M L Meena, a senior Jharkhand police official.
The three men injured in the attack were sent to hospital. Two men have been arrested for alleged murder and five more were on the run, Meena said.
It was unclear whether the accused were part of a Hindu vigilante group or acted on their own initiative, he added, saying the four men attacked were from a local tribal group and had been charged with illegal cow slaughter.
Meena said the charges were based on a complaint by a Hindu villager who said he witnessed the slaughter of the ox.
“So far the investigation has showed the ox died naturally. We are doing a thorough probe,” he said.
Cow slaughter and the consumption of beef is illegal in mineral-rich Jharkhand — and in 19 other states — but restricted slaughter of other bovines like buffalo and ox is allowed.
Modi, who is running for a second term in elections that began on Thursday and run until May 19, has condemned cow-related violence.
Under his government, laws about cow slaughter are now applied more strictly and punishments have increased.
In 2017 his government tried to ban the cattle trade for slaughter nationwide, only for it to be rejected by the Supreme Court.
Aside from the violence, which is mostly directed at India’s minority Muslim community and low-caste Dalits, the number of stray cows in India has also risen sharply.
This is because the fear of prosecution or violence has led to farmers abandoning old and sick cows instead of selling them for slaughter.
Last year a top minister in Modi’s cabinet was criticized for celebrating eight people convicted of lynching a Muslim cattle trader after they were released on bail.
Last week a Muslim man was brutally assaulted by a mob in north eastern Assam state over allegations he was selling beef. There is no prohibition on cow slaughter or beef consumption in the state.


China’s Xi Jinping to visit North Korea this week ahead of G20

Updated 37 min 43 sec ago
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China’s Xi Jinping to visit North Korea this week ahead of G20

  • Xi JingPing will be in Pyongyang at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
  • Kim Jong Un has gone to China multiple times over the past year

BEIJING: Xi Jinping will make the first trip to North Korea by a Chinese president in 14 years this week, state media said Monday, as Beijing tightens relations with Pyongyang amid tensions with the United States.
Xi will visit Pyongyang on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said Chinese broadcaster CCTV.
The timing is likely to raise eyebrows at the White House as it comes one week before the G20 summit in Japan, where US President Donald Trump expects to meet with Xi to discuss their protracted trade war.
Analysts say Xi could now use North Korea as leverage in talks with Trump.
China and North Korea have worked to improve relations in the past year after they deteriorated as Beijing backed a series of UN sanctions against its Cold War-era ally over its nuclear activities.
The North’s leader Kim Jong Un has traveled to China — his country’s sole major ally — four times in the past year to meet Xi.
But Xi had yet to reciprocate until now. It will be the first trip there by a Chinese president since Hu Jintao went in 2005.
“China-DPRK relations have opened a new chapter,” CCTV said, adding that Xi and Kim have reached a “series of important consensus” in past meetings.
Xi and Kim will “push for new progress” in a political resolution of the Korean peninsula issue, according to CCTV, which cited an unnamed official.
With Beijing and Washington at loggerheads over trade, China is keen to remind Trump of its influence in Pyongyang, with whom his nuclear negotiations — a point of pride for the US president, who faces an election next year — are also at a deadlock.
“The signal would be that China remains a critical stakeholder,” said Jingdong Yuan, a professor specializing in Asia-Pacific security and Chinese foreign policy at the University of Sydney.
“You cannot ignore China and China can play a very important role,” he told AFP. Xi could thus use the trip as a “bargaining chip” in the US-China trade war, he added.
According to an informed source in Pyongyang, Beijing was keen to arrange a visit to North Korea ahead of any encounter between Xi and Trump at the G20 summit — with logistics finalized only last month.
In recent days, hundreds of soldiers and workers have been sprucing up the Friendship Tower in Pyongyang, pruning bushes and replanting flowerbeds on the approaches to the monument, which commemorates the millions of Chinese troops Mao Zedong sent to save the forces of Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, from defeat during the Korean War.
A detachment of soldiers in white jackets was also seen outside the Liberation War Museum — which includes a section on the Chinese contribution — potentially indicating that it may be on Xi’s itinerary.
The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in said it had learned about Xi’s travel plans last week.
“We hope that this visit will contribute to the early resumption of negotiations for the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula which will lead to the settlement of lasting peace on the Korean peninsula,” the Blue House said.
It will be Xi’s first trip to North Korea since taking power in 2012, though he visited the country as vice president in 2008.
In contrast, Kim Jong Un has gone to China multiple times over the past year — an unbalanced exchange that has not gone unnoticed in Pyongyang.
According to diplomatic sources in the North Korean capital, after Kim’s many trips to meet Xi, there were increasingly strong feelings in Pyongyang that the Chinese leader should reciprocate for reasons of saving face.
“From a North Korean perspective, it’s time for Chairman Xi to visit,” said John Delury, an expert on US-China relations and Korean Peninsula affairs at Yonsei University in Seoul.
“They do keep score and it’s like four to zero,” he recently told AFP. “So far, Xi has approached China-North Korea relations very much as a function of US-China relations and kind of calculated in terms of that.”
The visit also comes as negotiations between Trump and Kim have soured after a second summit in February broke up without a deal, failing to agree on what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.
Since then, Kim has accused Washington of acting in “bad faith” and given it until the end of the year to change its approach.
Still, the nuclear situation is “under control for now,” said Delury.
“That creates a space, a window where Xi could make a visit without expecting like a missile test the day he leaves or something like that,” he said.