NEW DELHI: Three Muslim construction workers including a minor were arrested in Indian state of Assam for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by ‘displaying beef’ at a marketplace, a media report said.
The Assam arrests are the latest in a series of cow-related incidents in BJP-ruled states and could fuel allegations of Hindu right-wing groups selectively targeting the minority community.
A local court sent two of the accused – identified as Shah Zaman Haque of Dhubri and Ashur Rahman of Kokrajhar – to 14 days’ judicial custody. The minor was sent to a juvenile home.
Hindustan Times quoted police saying three were working at the site of an industrial training institute coming up on the outskirts of Jorhat, about 330 km east of capital Guwahati.
“They bought beef from somewhere on Tuesday and went to a vegetable market where they talked about their purchase. Some people took it seriously and lodged a complaint following which we picked them up,” said Prasanta Kumar Bhuyan, Jorhat superintendent of police.
Cow slaughter is banned in Assam under the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950.
An agency report hinted the accused could be illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
The BJP stormed to power in Assam for the first time last year, promising to stop illegal migration from the neighbouring country, a sensitive issue in the state which saw a six-year-long agitation over it.