PATNA: In the second such incident of organised attack on Muslims in Bihar in less than a fortnight, seven Muslims were beaten up by members of a cow protection vigilante group in West Champaran district of Bihar on Thursday for allegedly consuming beef in their homes.
A large crowd of people chanting slogans such as ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ gathered outside the house of Mohammad Shahabuddin at Dumra village under Chanpatia police station and assaulted him, said sources. Shahabuddin was questioned about where he procured beef and was then beaten with wooden sticks, they added.
The attackers, who numbered 50, allegedly included members of the local Vishwa Hindu Parishad, who accused Shahabuddin and his neighbours of having consumed beef the previous night after killing a cow.
Within minutes of the attack, Shahabuddin’s Muslim neighbours and others from the community from nearby villages gathered there. They were confined in a room in Shahabuddin’s house and beaten up, said sources.
A police team rushed to Dumra after being informed by a villager and reportedly stopped the attackers from continuing their act. Chanpatia police station SHO Rajesh Jha, Sirisiya police outpost head Kiran Shankar, Gopalpur police station SHO Yusuf Ansari and Bettiah DSP Sanjay Jha had a tough time stopping the mob from continuing with their assault, said sources.
Four people were injured in the attack and sent to the hospital in Bettiah, said a police officer. Kudus Qureshi, the husband of the local village head, Nasruddin Mian, Mustafa Mian, Jehangir Mian, Aslam Ansari, Bablu Mian and Rizwan Mian were arrested and later named as accused in the FIR.
“Seven people have been arrested on charge of deliberately hurting the religious sentiments of the local majority community. We are conducting investigation into the matter,” said Rajesh Jha, the SHO of Chanpatia police station. On why no FIR was registered against those who assaulted the Muslims, Jha said: “There has been no such complaint about the attack so far.”
On August 3, people belonging to a cow protection vigilante group had intercepted a truck carrying beef from an illegal slaughterhouse and assaulted three Muslims – the truck driver and two others in the vehicle – in Bhojpur district.
It was the first-ever attack of such nature in Bihar and had prompted the opposition parties to charge that cow vigilantism has reared its head in the state because the BJP joined the government after the grand alliance collapsed in July.