In a case of apparent misfire by zealous beef vigilantes, the head of a BJP minority cell in Maharashtra's Katol was beaten up allegedly for carrying beef, according to several media reports.
Salim Ismail Shah, a resident of Katol town, is a "dedicated party worker," his mother Rihana Shah was quoted as saying by The Hindu. "He was not carrying beef," she said.
While the BJP's Nagpur rural president Rajiv Potdar defended Shah, he also rushed to add that the "attackers have no relation with the BJP." Thuggery over beef by so-called cow protectors have grown in the past few months, forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence over lynching deaths and strongly condemn those who took the law into their own hands posing as 'gau rakshaks.'
Potdar claimed the attack "was a stunt to defame the BJP."
Shah's family is in a state of shock. The video of his beating had gone viral over all social platforms.
After the incident at Jalalkheda near Nagpur, four persons — Moreshwar Tandulkar, Ashwin Uike, Janardan Chaudhary and Rameshwar Taywade — were arrested and remanded in five-day police custody, according to the Indian Express.
"Shah, a resident of Katol town in Nagpur district, was returning home from Amner village with 15 kg meat on his motorcycle when four persons accosted him, accused him of carrying beef and beat him up. Shah had suffered injuries and had to be hospitalised. He was discharged later," inspector Vijaykumar Tiwari of Jalalkheda police station told Express.
As is custom in such cases, samples of the meat Shah was carrying was sent for forensic tests.
Shah said he had tried to convince his attackers that the meat he was carrying was mutton, but was still beaten up. Timely arrival of the police saved his life.