A Muslim man carrying buffalo meat was physically assaulted in an Indian state by a group of men. However, in a bizarre turn of events, police have registered a case against the victim, NDTV reports.
According to the news report, Mohammed Shakir was beaten up on Sunday afternoon in Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district by a group led by a man who called himself a "cow vigilante".
Video footage of the incident showed Shakir surrounded by a group and a man identified as Manoj Thakur, who allegedly led the assault. Thakur beat the victim with a stick till he fell to the ground. In a longer video of the incident, Shakir is restrained by the men as he pleads to be released.
While police registered a case against the attackers on the complaint of the victim's brother, they also — of their own volition — registered a separate case against the victim.
"The counter case lists charges relating to 'mischief by killing an animal', 'committing an act likely to spread infection', and 'violation of Covid lockdown guidelines'," the NDTV report said.
A senior police official posted in the area told the publication that Shakir had been arrested but not jailed as the charges against him were "bailable". The victim's family also confirmed to the publication that Shakir was recovering at home.
Meanwhile, Moradabad police said that four people had been arrested while two others were on the run. The report stated that Thakur — the man who led the assault — had not yet been arrested.
"We received a video of a meat seller being beaten up and we have filed a case. There are five to six accused who have been named. We are carrying out searches and will arrest them soon," Prabhakar Chaudhary, the Moradabad police chief, said in a statement.
In the police complaint, Shakir's brother alleged that the victim was intercepted by Thakur and his associates while carrying 50kg of buffalo meat. The FIR stated that the suspects demanded 50,000 Indian rupees and then beat him up. They also threatened him against going to the police, the report said.
Meanwhile, Thakur has issued a statement in his defence.
"We tried to stop this man but he hit us with his vehicle. Using two lathis (sticks) to hit a man is a crime but trying to kill someone isn't? I am trying to stop cow slaughter but the police are now threatening me. Let the administration give me a police team [...] I will expose this racket," he said.