A man from Gujarat has been sentenced to three years in prison for possessing beef, reported PTI. A local court in Surat found Rafik Illyasbhai Khalifa, 35, guilty under sections of Gujarat Animal Preservation [Amendment] Act-2011. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him.

The court refused to entertain the defendant's plea that the accused is from a poor financial background with his family dependent on him, and rejected his request to reduce the sentence and the fine. "Cow is associated with the religious sentiment of a community. So such a crime threatens the peace of society. If the accused is given jail term, it will serve as an example for others to refrain from committing such a crime," Gandevi Judicial Magistrate [First Class] C Y Vyas said on Friday.

Rafik is a resident of Devda village in Gandevi taluka of Surat district. On October 8, 2014, he was caught with two bags containing 20 kg of beef. The meat, which is banned in the state, was estimated to be worth around Rs 4,000. The local police filed an FIR against him, and sent the meat samples to the lab, which later confirmed that he was carrying was beef.