The Jharkhand Police on Saturday arrested a school principal and her aide following allegations that she had hurt religious sentiments by consuming beef within the institute’s premises in Pakur district on Friday, Hindustan Times reported. The complainants, which included several students and their parents, claimed that Rosa Hansda and her aide Birju Hansda had used utensils meant for midday meals to prepare the beef dish.
Birju Hansda is believed to have been arrested for supplying the meat. Reports differed on whether a sample of the meat was found on the premises. “Although we did not find any raw or cooked meat in the school, we registered an FIR on the basis of the statements of schoolchildren and their parents,” The Times of India quoted Pakur Superintendent of Police Shailendra Barnwal as saying. “The principal and her relative, too, confessed that beef was being cooked in the school kitchen for consumption at their home.” A Hindustan Times report, however, said that a sample of the meat was sent to a laboratory.
The principal has denied the allegations. “I have been falsely implicated in the case,” Rosa Handsa told The Times of India.
Earlier in June, an FIR was lodged against Jamshedpur-based college professor Jeetrai Hansda for proposing to host a “beef party” in a Facebook post, Hindustan Times reported. The state government had introduced the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Ordinance in 2005, which was later converted into an Act. The move was criticised as an added restriction on those who consume beef.
The region has a significant Santhal tribe population that consumes beef. The principal is a tribal Christian, an unidentified official told The Indian Express.
On May 26, the Centre had issued new rules that require cattle traders to give an undertaking that the animals being sold at markets would only be used for agricultural purposes and not slaughter. Several states have massively criticised the notification, including Kerala, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh.
On June 15, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the Centre’s notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter and issued a notice to the government seeking an explanation within two weeks. The matter will be heard on July 11.