By Muhammad Luqman
Yet in another hate crime ahead of general elections in India, an elderly Muslim was abused and heckled for allegedly selling beef in north-eastern Indian state of Assam before being forced to eat pork, according to Indian newspapers on Tuesday.
Reports suggest, the police have detained at least five people after a viral video showed the man on his knees in deep slush, begging to let him go.
Beef is not banned in Assam, but one needs certificate from vet to slaughter cattle
Shaukat Ali, 68, was beaten on the road and forced to eat pork as punishment by locals, the reports said. He is currently being treated at a government hospital.
According to Biswanath district police, two separate First Information Reports (FIR) have been filed – one of them is by Shaukat Ali’s brother. The police have started an investigation and are on the lookout for the men seen in the video.
Ali is a businessman and has been running an eatery in the area for the last 35 years. The mob accused him of selling beef in the weekly market.
The mob, while threatening Shaukat Ali, asked him if he had licence to sell beef and whether he was from Bangladesh.
“Are you Bangladeshi? Is your name in the NRC (National Register of Citizens)?” someone in the mob can be heard asking him.
The BJP in its manifesto released on Monday said it “will expeditiously complete” the NRC on priority. The party also said that it would implement NRC in a phased manner across the country.
Biswanath, under the Tezpur Lok Sabha constituency, goes to polls in the first phase on April 11.
Confirming the incident, the local police told news sites that two FIRs have been filed against unidentified persons — one by Kamal Thapa and the other by Shaukat Ali’s relatives. The police, however, denied that the violence was communal in nature.
Asaduddin Owaisi, the Chairman of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and member of the parliament, has condemned the incident on Twitter, writing “I know many people who feel they’re desensitized because of the number of lynchings in the last five years. I am not, each video infuriates me and saddens me.”
Owaisi added, “It’s irrelevant that beef is legal in Assam, lynching an innocent old man is illegal in every part of India.”
By Muhammad Luqman