Three men have been arrested in Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur for allegedly vandalising a dairy run by a Muslim man after suspecting beef was being sold there, The Indian Express reported on Monday. Though members of local right-wing groups demanded action against the dairy shop owner, no case has been filed yet.
On Saturday evening, a group of self-styled “gau rakshaks”, or cow vigilantes, allegedly entered the dairy in the city’s Gokul Nagar area and assaulted people in the shop, the police said. “They assaulted [dairy shop owner] Usman Qureshi and his associates at the dairy and vandalised the premises,” an official told the newspaper. “We have CCTV footage of the incident and are investigating based on that.”
The next morning, a group of at least 50 members of right-wing groups, including the Bajrang Dal, chanted slogans at the DD Nagar police station. They demanded that a first information report be registered against Qureshi on cow slaughter charges. They accused the police of bias and claimed they had found “bones” behind the shop. The police said no evidence of cow slaughter had been found yet. A Congress government is in power in the state.
Additional Superintendent of Police Prafull Thakur told the newspaper that the three people people who had been arrested were sent to judicial custody. The accused – Ankit Dwivedi, Amarjeet Singh and Shubhankar Dwivedi – have been charged under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with an armed weapon), 427 (mischief), 457 (trespass), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 380 (theft) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
“No cross-FIR has been registered as no crime has been committed by the other party as it stands,” Thakur said. “We are investigating.”
The incident came three days after five people beat up two men and a woman in Madhya Pradesh’s Seoni district on the suspicion that they were carrying beef. Two people have been arrested for selling meat to the three, who are also in custody. The police have also taken five self-styled cow vigilantes into custody.
Meanwhile, HuffPost India reported on Sunday that a prominent Adivasi activist and professor in Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur district has been arrested for writing a Facebook post in 2017 defending his community’s right to eat beef.