By AISHWARYA S IYER & MOHAMMAD SARTAJ ALAM
“It is buffalo’s meat, it is buffalo’s meat! I kept screaming this but no one listened to me. They kept saying I have slaughtered a cow. I tried to say that I did the job of selling buffalo meat, but they were not listeningg,” 32-year-old Shakir, a butcher who was thrashed in broad daylight by cow vigilantes (gau rakshaks) in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad on 23 May, said from his home days after the incident.
The Quint had spoken to him within a day of the incident, but he was unwell and unable to talk then. “I was going through some treatment, I am better now,” he said.
In the FIR against Thakur, five others have also been named as accused. This includes Pradeep, Babu, Gulshan alias Gully, Sumit, Vijay, and four to five unnamed persons. They have been booked under section 147 (rioting), 148 (armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 389 (extortion), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
“I was taking buffalo meat when these people stopped me and cornered me from all sides. These people started beating me as soon as they got me off my vehicle. Manoj Thakur was leading the group, there were eight to ten others,” Shakir said, recalling the moment the mob had set their eyes on him.
“They tied me to a tree and started beating me up,” he said as a crowd began to gather around them.
When asked what was it that the men kept telling him, he said:
This is an allegation also made by the president of the Bharatiya Gauraksha Vahini that Thakur proudly claims to be a member of. “It was actions like taking money from people that finally led to us throwing him out six months ago. Even the local Sangh workers have said this man is not right,” the outfit’s president, Rakesh Singh Parihar, said.
He said they beat him for one to one to a half hours. The police finally came and he was taken to the police station. By then Thakur had fled the spot and area, but not before giving an interview to the local reporters where he accepted that he had thrashed the victim but said he did this cause he was ‘under attack’.
There is no proof whatsoever of this allegation.
Ever since the incident, Shakir says he is being consistently threatened. “The threats come every day and everyone is pressurising me to strike a compromise (faisla karlo) and take my case back. This has been happening.”
Shakir is living every day in fear. “I thought they were going to kill me. Ever since the incident, my treatment is going on.”
When asked what he expects from the government, he said, “I want that with my state, the government should take care of me, ensure my safety so that there are no attacks on me.”
This story was first appeared on thequint.com