Muslim man dies after attack by cow vigilantes in India

A Rajasthani nomad walks with his cows and oxen on a highway in Sultanpur in the northern state of Haryana in this file photo. Indian police on Wednesday said a Muslim man died two days after he was attacked by hundreds of Hindu vigilantes while transporting cows in Alwar, Rajasthan. (REUTERS/Kamal Kishore)
Updated 05 April 2017

Muslim man dies after attack by cow vigilantes in India

NEW DELHI: A Muslim man has died after he was attacked by hundreds of Hindu vigilantes while transporting cows in India, police said Wednesday, amid rising tensions over the slaughter of the sacred animal.
Pehlu Khan, 55, died in hospital late Monday, two days after a mob attacked his cattle truck on a highway in Alwar in the western state of Rajasthan.
Cows are considered sacred in Hindu-majority India, and their slaughter is illegal in many states.
In parts of northern and western India, squads of vigilantes roam highways inspecting livestock trucks for any trace of the animal.
Alwar police chief Rahul Prakash said at least six others were injured in the attack, but had now been discharged from the hospital.
Police are still trying to identify the attackers and have filed a murder case, he said, adding that a postmortem would determine the cause of Khan’s death.
“We are yet to receive the postmortem report but he had multiple rib fractures,” he told AFP.
Prakash said the victim and his associates were returning to their home state of Haryana when the mob intercepted their vehicle.
At least 10 Muslim men have been killed in similar incidents across the country by Hindu mobs on suspicion of eating beef or smuggling cows in the last two years.
In 2015 a Muslim man was lynched by his neighbors over rumors that he had slaughtered a cow. Police later said the meat was mutton.
Critics say the vigilantes were emboldened by the election in 2014 of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
Last year Modi criticized the cow-protection vigilantes and urged a crackdown against groups using religion as a cover for committing crimes.
But last month, he appointed a right-wing Hindu priest to head the country’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, which is also home to much of the country’s meat industry.
Shortly after he was sworn in, police began shutting butcher shops, grinding much of the industry to a halt.


Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 2 min 40 sec ago

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”