Shaukat Ali, the Muslim man from Assam’s Biswanath district, who was beaten black and blue by a mob for ‘selling beef’, said the whole attack “appears to have been a well-planned attack, timed to stoke communal feelings”.
Eight persons has since been arrested in this connection. Ali said that he has been running the eatery in the Biswanath local market for the last 40 years and no such incident has ever occurred.
The 45-year-old Muslim trader further stated that his eatery has been serving beef all these years, catering primarily to the people from the Muslim community.
There is no ban on cow slaughter in Assam. It is regulated by Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950, which allows slaughter of cattle over 14 years of age, or cattle that are incapable of work or for use in breeding.
A certificate from a veterinary officer, stating that the cattle is “fit for slaughter”, is required before slaughtering it.
“We have traditionally served beef — not only our shop, there are three or four other shops that have beef on the menu on the weekly market days — Thursdays and Sundays,” informed the trader.
Ali says that the video clip shows only a part of the assault. “It only shows them abusing me and force-feeding me a piece of pork. But before that they hit me mercilessly on the head, face, my back, and below my ears. I cannot swallow even now,” he said.
Earlier, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has said that the culprits will not be “let off the hook”.
Reports quoted Sonowal as saying, “We will not spare anyone responsible for this incident. This is a secular nation. The principle of secularism will be strictly maintained.”
Ali says his entire family’s name is in the final draft NRC published last year.