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NHRC seeks action in case of Assam man assaulted for selling beef

A poster displayed during a protest against mob lynching in Bengaluru. File

A poster displayed during a protest against mob lynching in Bengaluru. File   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Assam government asking why a Muslim man assaulted almost a year ago for selling beef should not be paid ₹1 lakh as compensation.

The commission instructed the State’s Chief Secretary to reply within six weeks from March 12. It gave a similar deadline to the State’s Director-General of Police to submit an action-taken report against the police officials found guilty of letting the assault happen.

Some vigilantes had assaulted 68-year-old Shaukat Ali for selling beef in his restaurant at a weekly market in north-eastern Assam’s Biswanath Chariali town. There were allegations that the local police were mute spectators when the vigilantes assaulted him on April 7, 2019.

The NHRC had taken up the case after Debabrata Saikia, Congress MLA and Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, lodged a complaint on April 12, 2019, against the assault and the indifference of the police in pursuing the case even after an FIR was registered.

Citing a report of the Biswanath district magistrate (DM) of September 14, 2019, the NHRC said some local unemployed youths had accompanied a profession tax collector who was collecting ‘tax’ from vendors and shopkeepers in the market that had not been leased out for three consecutive financial years.

“The market is in Hindu inhabitation area and selling of beef hurts the religious sentiments of the local people and some youth thus insulted and disgraced Shaukat Ali,” the NHRC observed, citing the DM’s report. “Some unidentified persons also inserted something in his mouth but it could be ascertained if it was pork,” the magistrate had added.

“It is clearly discernible from the report that public servant was collecting revenue from the market involving some local unemployed youths which is against the law,” the NHRC concluded. “The victim was found insulted and disgraced on basis of caste/religion, therefore, human rights of the victim were violated by collecting revenue by a public servant i.e. profession tax collector illegally. Police has apprehended 15 persons and forwarded them to judicial custody,” the rights panel added.

Ruling that the assault on Mr. Ali violated the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the NHRC accordingly prescribed a compensation of ₹1 lakh to the victim of what it categorised as a ‘mob lynching’ and issued the show-cause notice to the State’s Chief Secretary.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 2:22:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nhrc-seeks-action-in-case-of-assam-man-assaulted-for-selling-beef/article31099733.ece

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