GUWAHATI: Assam police arrested five members of a Hindu students’ body for assaulting the drivers and the helpers of three vehicles transporting cattle.
The accused, who are the members of Hindu Yuva Chhatra Parishad, had intercepted the vehicles – a truck and two tempos – at Dimoria in Kamrup (metro) district on Sunday and assaulted the victims even after they had furnished proper challans to ferry the cattle.
The police said one person was arrested on Monday while the four others were arrested on Tuesday. Initially, the police did not confirm the assault on the individuals despite local TV channels airing visuals of the incident. On the contrary, they had asked the transport authorities to find out if the vehicles were overloaded.
“The accused have been charged under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code for causing injury and snatching money from the drivers. They have been forwarded to the court,” Guwahati police commissioner Hiren Nath told The New Indian Express. The police identified the accused as Biju Kathar, Lohit Chandra Das, Pradip Singh, Suraj Barua and Nripen Boro.
In April, two Muslims, accused of cattle theft, were lynched by a mob in central Assam’s Nagaon district. In another incident in the same month, three people, including a minor, were arrested in eastern Assam’s Jorhat town for “openly” carrying beef in a marketplace. The latest incident came even as there are rumours across social media in parts of the Northeast that vehicles passing through Assam were being frisked by the cow vigilantes to find out if the occupants were carrying beef.
Beef is an integral part of the cuisine of tribals living in Christian-majority Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram. Even many Buddhists in Arunachal Pradesh eat beef. Last month, two BJP leaders in Meghalaya had quit the party protesting the Centre’s new cattle slaughter rules.