Two men and a woman who were attacked in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh on May 24 by cow vigilantes on the suspicion that they were carrying beef have told a court that they did not inform the police about the incident as the attackers had threatened to kill them, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The attack took place a day after General Election results were announced.

In a video that was shared widely on social media last week, a group of men was seen tying two men to a tree and beating them up after they were suspected of carrying beef. One of the victims was then untied and pushed to the ground and beaten with sticks. The attackers then forced him to hit the woman with a slipper and shout “Jai Shri Ram”.

“In their statement recorded before a court under Section 164 of CrPC on Monday, the trio said they would have never reported the incident because Shubham Baghel and others had warned them that they would be killed,” said Ganpat Uikey, who is in charge of the Dundaseoni police station.

The police arrested Baghel, who identified himself as the Seoni district president of Shri Ram Sena, and his four accomplices on May 24 when they were trying to escape to Jabalpur. One person is suspected to be on the run. The three victims – Tausif Khan, Anjum Sama and Dilp Malvi – were also arrested for allegedly carrying beef. Two days later, the police arrested two people who allegedly sold them the meat.

Uikey said the police conducted a medical exam of the three who had been assaulted. “It appears from the video that excessive force was used but X-ray examination did not show any serious injury,’’ he added.

Akash Safelkar, who is the national vice-president of Shri Ram Sena, said Baghel was sacked from the organisation on April 28 after he was found to be involved in criminal activities. The police too confirmed that Baghel was involved in at least eight cases of cow vigilantism, while Uikey said he was an extortionist as well.