Bihar: Gau rakshaks search homes of 6 Muslim families, beat men on suspicion of eating beef
Patna, August 19: A horrific episode of "cow vigilantism", where six families were attacked on suspicion of eating beef by a group of 100-odd men in Bihar's West Champaran, came to light on Friday.
The latest attack in the name of cow protection, which took place on Thursday, is the second such case in Bihar since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a fresh government in the state less than a month ago.
Although several attacks were carried out by cow vigilantes, also known as gau rakshaks, across the country in recent times, Bihar did not witness any such mob violence till the new Janata Dal (United) (JD(U))-BJP alliance government took power in the state.
The first cow vigilantism attack case in the state came to light on August 3, when three persons were badly beaten up for allegedly smuggling beef in Bhojpur district.
Although the police had not arrested any of the attackers in the latest case, the victims were taken into "protective custody".
Bettiah Sadar sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Sanjay Jha told The Telegraph that based on the statement made by the wife of a victim, a complaint has been lodged by the police against the attackers.
As per reports, around 100-odd men, a few of which belonged to the Hindu right wing group, the Vishva Hindu Parishad, brandishing sticks and chanting "Bharat Mata ki jai", marched towards the homes of the victims, before thrashing six men and holding one person captive.
The attack took place at Dumra village of West Champaran, around 185km northwest of Patna.
The attack on the Muslim families by cow vigilantes took place after Rajdev Sah, a resident of the Dumra village lodged an FIR, alleging that a calf had gone missing from the village on Wednesday evening and the villagers suspected it had been killed for meat.
After the FIR was lodged, the cow vigilantes carried out the attack by forcefully entering the houses of six Muslim men and allegedly beating them up on Thursday.
The attackers also searched the houses to find out if beef has been stored in them.
In Bihar, slaughter of milk-yielding cows and transport of beef are banned. However, law book does not mention whether a person can consume beef or not in the state.
Several police personnel rushed to the spot after one of the victims managed to inform about the attack at a local police station.
After reaching the village, the police rescued the victims from the clutches of the attackers and sent the injured for treatment to a nearby hospital. Instead of nabbing the attackers, the police pacified them and promised to take action against the "cattle thieves and beef-eaters".
Thereafter, the police took the victims into custody to avoid "any untoward incident".
The victims were taken into custody on charges of "hurting religious sentiments", informed the police.
A local VHP leader, Neeraj, told The Telegraph that gau rakshaks were keeping close tabs on the people involved in consumption and transport of beef in the district.
"We have our activists almost in every village, who keep on passing information about illegal slaughterhouses and beef smuggling," Neeraj said.