A Jharkhand court on Friday convicted 11 cow vigilantes, including a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader for lynching a 55-year old Muslim trader for allegedly carrying beef.
All of the 11 accused - including a local BJP leader - were convicted under IPC Section 302 (murder). In addition, three of them were convicted under Section 120B (conspiracy) - indicating that the court was convinced that the attack was pre-planned. The court fixed March 21 to pronounce the quantum of punishment.
In June 2017, Alimuddin alias Asgar Ansari, 45, was mercilessly beaten and his Maruti van was set afire by a mob at Bazartand village, some 50 km from the Jharkhand capital Ranchi.
Ansari was reportedly carrying about 200 kg of meat in his van when he was attacked. His car was also set on fire. Police had intervened, but he succumbed to his injuries soon after being admitted to a hospital. Two people were arrested in the case, including local BJP leader Nityanand Mahato. Another accused had surrendered.
In videos of the assault that did the rounds on social media, the assailants were seen beating Ansari with pieces of meat while his car was on fire in the background.
The lynching had taken place on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Ahmedabad that killing people in the name of 'Gau Bhakti (cow worship)' was unacceptable and that nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands.