Five people were detained in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh for allegedly assaulting three people, including a women, on suspicion that they were transporting beef, the police said on Saturday.
The district police said Dilip Malviya, Taufik and Anjum Shama of Seoni were stopped by the accused when they were travelling in an autorickshaw near a restaurant on Mandla Road in the Kanhiwada area on May 22.
On being informed about the incident, the police came to the spot and arrested the three victims on suspicion that they were carrying beef. They were produced before a court and sent to jail, an official at the police station, who declined to be identified, said over telephone.
The police said they had seized 140 kg of red meat, adding that samples of had been sent for forensic analysis in Hyderabad.
It was only after the video of the incident was uploaded on social media by the head of the Shri Ram Sena that a sister of one of the victims saw the video, a day later, and lodged an FIR (First Information Report) with the police against the attackers.
Based on her complaint, the Seoni police arrested five persons, including the main accused Shubham Baghel, who had uploaded the video of the incident on his social media account.
“Five persons, including the main accused Shubham Baghel, have been arrested,” Superintendent of Police Lalit Shakyawar said. “Animal meat was found in the vehicle that the victims were using and it has been sent to laboratory for test,” he added.
An FIR had been registered against the five people under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Dunda Seoni police station, Mr. Shakyawar said.
The other four accused have been identified as local residents Yogesh Uikey, Deepesh Namdev, Rohit Yadav and Shyam Dehriya.
The accused were produced before the court, which remanded them to judicial custody till June 6.
Though the video was later deleted by the accused, it had already been widely circulated on social media, evoking strong reactions and comment.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti condemned the incident. “Horrified to see cow vigilantes thrash an innocent Muslim with such impunity in MP. Hope Kamal Nath takes swift action against these goons,” she tweeted.
President of AIMIM, Asaduddin Owaisi, also cited the video and tweeted: “This is how Muslims are treated by vigilantes created by Modi voters. Welcome to a New India which will [be] inclusive and as @PMOIndia said secularism ka niqaab”.