In the continuing list of episodes relating to the assault of Muslim meat traders in the country, another Muslim man was lynched on Sunday afternoon while he was transporting meat for business. The assault was carried out by a group of men, captained by a person who identified himself as a so-called “gau rakshak” or cow vigilante.
The incident took place in a village in the Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh under the Katghar Police Station limits when Mohammed Shakir, the victim, was transporting buffalo meat.
Based on the complaint filed by Shakir’s brother, the police have filed a case against the accused who lashed out at the victim. Shockingly, however, the police themselves have registered a counter case against the victim.
According to the case filed, Shakir has been booked under charges that accuse him of ‘mischief by killing an animal’, ‘committing an act likely to spread infection’, and ‘violation of Covid lockdown guidelines’.
He has been arrested but not jailed as of now as the charges filed against him were bailable, NDTV reported a Deputy Superintendent posted in the area as saying.
Shakir’s family said that he is in a state of shock but currently recovering at home.
The Moradabad Police defended their decision to file a case saying that the Muslim man did not have any receipt or document to show his permission for transporting the meat. They added that he did not have the “permission to move around” as the state is under lockdown presently.
Though the victim has been arrested, the main accused, Manoj Thakur, hasn’t been taken into custody till now. Out of the 6 accused, 4 have been arrested while 2 are on the run, according to the Moradabad cops on Monday afternoon.
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Speaking about the video that got viral showing the disturbing visuals of the lynching, Moradabad police chief Prabhakar Chaudhary said, “We got a video of a meat-seller being beaten up and we have filed a case. There are five to six accused who have been named. We are carrying out searches and will arrest them soon.”
Shakir was carrying 50 kg of buffalo meat on a scooter when he was bullied and aggressively picked up by Manoj Thakur and his group of men, the victim’s brother said in his FIR. The written complaint mentioned that the accused demanded Rs. 50,000 from Shakir and beat him with sticks while also threatening him from informing the police about the matter.
The video captured from a mobile phone show Shakir surrounded by Thakur and his associates. The prime accused then proceeds to attack Shakir with a lathi repeatedly till he drops down to the ground. The victim can then be seen being held by some men as he pleads them to release him.
Though the police said that the search was on to arrest Thakur, he remained in the media spotlight as he sent video messages to journalists over the district, seemingly without any fear from an unknown location.
“We tried to stop this man but he hit us with his vehicle. Using two lathis to hit a man is a crime but trying to kill someone isn’t? I am trying to stop cow slaughter but the police are now threatening me. Let the administration give me a police team… I will expose this racket,” he said.
The assault has sparked a massive outrage while many social media users are calling the incident an act to prepare for the UP elections based on religious divisions and a way to distract people from the covid situation.
Local Samajwadi Party MP ST Hasan demanded action in the case as he expressed relief that the victim’s life was saved.
“I heard he got the meat from a factory and had a receipt. Yet he was assaulted. I want to say that this hatred in the name of cow slaughter has to stop. It is God’s grace this man was not killed,” he said.