TWO MEN, including a Muslim, who were beaten up on the suspicion of carrying beef and a Muslim woman accompanying them who was made to chant Jai Shri Ram, in Seoni district on May 22, told a court that they did not tell police about the torture, because the gau rakshaks had threatened to kill them.
“In their statement recorded before a court under Section 164 of CrPC on Monday, the trio said they would have never reported the incident because Shubham Baghel and others had warned them that they would be killed,’’ in-charge of Dundaseoni police station Ganpat Uikey told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
The police said they came to know about the torture only after they saw the video two days later and not on May 22, when Shubham Baghel and others informed them about recovery of beef from the trio.
Tausif Khan, 24, Anjum Sama, 40, and Dilp Malvi, 24, were booked under the state’s Anti Cow Slaughter Act and were sent to judicial custody.
Shubham Baghel, who identified himself as Seoni district president of Shri Ram Sena, and his four accomplices were arrested on May 24 when they were trying to escape to Jabalpur in a four-wheeler. One gau rakshak escaped.
Two persons who sold suspected beef to the trio were also arrested. The police are looking for one more accomplice involved in the cow slaughter.
After the video went viral, the police conducted another medical examination of the trio to know if they had injuries. “It appears from the video that excessive force was used but X-ray examination did not show any serious injury,’’ Uikey said.
Meanwhile, the national vice-president of Shri Ram Sena, which is headquartered in Nagpur, Akash Safelkar claimed that Baghel had been sacked on April 28, after the organisation came to know that he was involved in criminal activities. Unlike the typewritten appointment letter that Baghel flaunted, the expulsion letter is handwritten.
Safelkar told The Indian Express that Baghel did odd jobs in Nagpur for two-three months after he was externed by the Madhya Pradesh police. Safelkar said it was during Baghel’s stay in Nagpur that he came to know about his radical thoughts on cows and love jihad. Safelkar claimed he decided to sack Baghel when he learnt that he again took to criminal activities after returning to Seoni.
The police confirmed that Baghel was involved in at least eight cases of cow vigilantism, filed by cattle owners.
Uikey said Baghel was allegedly into extortion.
The police said Dilip Malvi was also arrested in another case of cow slaughter six months ago. The trial is on.
Referring to the May 22 incident, the police said they have seized weapons used in killing and skinning a cow and the remains. After a local government veterinary doctor identified the meat seized from the trio as suspected beef, the samples were sent to a Hyderabad laboratory for confirmation.