A group of cow vigilantes thrashed two meat traders on the suspicion that they were carrying beef on 26 May, media reports said. A video of the assault is doing the rounds.
According to The Indian Express, one of the assailants in the video was seen slapping the victim and demanding that he says “Jai Sri Ram”. They were later heard talking about taking the victims to the Malegaon police station.
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A report by India Today said, Mokshanda Patil, SP of Washim district, said nine people had been arrested in connection with the incident, seven of them who attacked the two men were booked under various sections of the IPC.
The two victims, too, have been booked under Section 295a of the IPC. The SP also urged the public to inform the police if they suspected anyone of selling cow meat so that immediate action could be taken after verification.
Patil told Huffington Post that samples of meat seized from the men have been sent to a state laboratory in Nagpur for verification. In 2015, the state government had banned the illegal slaughter of cows, bulls and buffaloes. However, in January, the Bombay High Court amended sections of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act that prohibited possession of beef.
The BJP and the Sangh family supports a ban on cow slaughter but "condemns" vigilantism in the name of its protection, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on 25 May, declaring they (the cow vigilantes) are "not our people".
Gadkari's comments are the strongest repudiation of cow vigilante groups by the Modi government, which has come under fierce attack by its rivals over violence perpetrated by the so-called "gau rakshaks".
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: May 29, 2017 16:36 PM