The father of one of the youths beaten up by Shiv Sena activists before being arrested by the police for reportedly carrying “ox hide” in Bahraich district’s Ramgaon area on Sunday said his son was carrying the skin to repair a dhol (drum) for Muharram processions.
Shamsuddeen, father of Afsar Ali, said his son and his brother’s son-in-law, Pairu, had gone to get the dhol, which was damaged during Muharram last year, repaired.
“The boys had contributed money. They went to Bahraich and bought the skin from one Dalit in Dundipurwa. While returning, they stopped to drink liquor in Nimbuari village where they were beaten up by some people,” the 50-year-old, a resident of Babapurwa, told The Indian Express over phone after meeting Ali in jail on Tuesday.
The police have booked the duo, both in their early 20s, under the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.
No action was taken against those who assaulted the duo as the police have “not received any complaint so far”.
Shamsuddeen said that he has contacted a lawyer, who told him that it will take “nearly one month” before Afsar and Pairu can get bail. “My son and I travel to Bahraich city every day for work and earn something between Rs 200 and Rs 300 working as labourers at the Kirana Mandi,” he said.
“I have five daughters,” Shamsuddeen said, adding that Afsar had become the main breadwinner for the family after the eldest son left home following a fight.
Ramesh, who lives in the same village, said Afsar has been working as a labourer in Bahraich and that he had “never heard” about Afsar being involved in skinning carcass.
The village’s former pradhan Israr said that the Nimbuari village has remained communally tense after “a Hindu was allegedly murdered by a Muslim farmer last winter”.
Ramgaon station officer D P Kushwaha, meanwhile, said that the accused could not tell the location from where they had bought the skin.
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