Mumbai, July 14: The gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) of Nagpur in Maharashtra must be scratching their heads after they miserably bungled by attacking one of their own men (although a Muslim) for allegedly carrying beef.
On Wednesday, four persons brutally beat up a 40-year-old Muslim man in Nagpur's Bharsingi area on suspicion of carrying beef.
In spite of the victim's repeated plea that the meat in his possession is "mutton" and not "beef", the attackers were in no mood to listen to his pleas.
However, there is a twist to the entire tale. Generally, attacks on people in the name of cow protection follow a similar pattern. Most often Muslim men are either brutally beaten or killed over suspicion of possessing beef or illegally ferrying cattle.
This case also followed the similar path, but the victim turns out be a Bharatiya Janata Dal (BJP) leader from the state. The man at the centre of controversy--Salim Ismail Shah--is the head of BJP minority cell in Maharashtra's Katol.
Salim, a resident of Katol town, is a "dedicated party worker," his mother Rihana was quoted as saying by The Hindu. "He was not carrying beef," she said.
Even BJP's Nagpur rural president Rajiv Potdar defended Salim. However, Potdar added that the "attackers have no relation with the BJP."
The four attackers have been arrested and remanded in five-day police custody on Thursday. Reports suggest that the four accused belong to the Prahar Sangathana.
According to police, Salim was travelling in his two-wheeler when the accused stopped him and alleged that he was carrying beef. In spite of Salim's repeated denial that the meat was not beef, they refused to hear him out.
Salim, who underwent treatment in a hospital as he had sustained severe injuries, on Thursday, told the media that he was carrying "mutton" for a function and he was in no way related to any business associated with selling "beef".
The police on its part have sent the "meat" to a forensic laboratory for test as cow slaughter is illegal in the state.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the attacks carried out by cow vigilantes in the name of cow protection.
However, it seems nobody cares what the head of the country has to say about these kinds of barbaric and inhumane attacks, which have led to several deaths in recent times.
The killing of 16-year-old Muslim boy, Junaid Khan, on a train in Haryana by a group of 15-20 men last month rattled the whole country. Before Junaid was stabbed to death, the attackers called him "beef-eater" and "anti-national", thus clearly stating out why they decided to kill him.
After Junaid's death, a nationwide campaign, #NotInMyName, was started to demand an end to attacks on people in the name of cow protection.