A BJP minority cell member was allegedly beaten up by four men after they suspected him of carrying beef. The incident took place at Jalalkheda near Nagpur Wednesday. Moreshwar Tandulkar, who led the attack, and his accomplices Ashwin Uike, Janardan Chaudhary and Rameshwar Taywade, were arrested after a video clip of the assault on Salim Ismail Shah went viral. They have been booked for “causing grievous hurt” and remanded in five-day police custody.
Tandulkar is a functionary of Independent MLA from Achalpur Bacchu Kadu’s Prahar Sanghatan. Nagpur rural BJP chief Rajiv Potdar has condemned the attack and demanded strict action against the culprits.
“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 The Indian Express.
However, Shah had to be hospitalised again Thursday after he complained of uneasiness. “A lot of people had gathered at his residence to meet him. He was apparently in trauma and complained of uneasiness. We did not want to take any risk. He will be under observation after some tests,” SP (Nagpur rural) Shailesh Balkawde said.
Tiwari said samples of the meat Shah was carrying had been sent for forensic tests to establish if it was beef. “We have not registered any offence against Shah yet,” he said, adding that Shah was carrying the meet for a community programme at Katol.
Shah and his family were too scared to talk. “They are in a state of shock and are not talking to the media,” said journalist Javed Kazi, who was with Shah’s family till he returned home from a Nagpur hospital Wednesday. Kazi, a journalist with a Hindi daily, said Shah was president of the BJP’s Katol minority cell.
Nagpur rural BJP chief Rajiv Potdar said, “Some organisations are trying to malign BJP’s image and they must be dealt with strictly. If anyone is suspected to be doing anything wrong, be it cow-slaughter or anything else, law should deal with it, not vigilantes.” He said Shah was BJP’s Katol minority unit vice-president between 2013 and 2015. Asked to comment on right wing activists carrying out attacks elsewhere on people suspected to be carrying beef, he said: “The Prime Minister has made it clear that it won’t be tolerated. So, the BJP is very clear on this.”
MLA Bacchu Kadu said that what Tandulkar did was wrong, but called him a “worker who has done a lot of good work”.
“I am not throwing him out,” he said, adding that workers “take the law into their hands when police do not do their job”. “I know that the police are not implementing the law and are taking bribe to overlook violations,” he said.
Kadu insisted that he did not support vigilantism but believed feelings of crores of people must be respected. “But this brings us to another important question. While cow or any other animal or human being should not be killed, who is responsible for farmer suicides? Today, farmers cannot sell old cows or bullocks and hence cannot buy new ones too. Is he not being forced to commit suicide?”