Biswanath, April 9, 2019
The All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) on April 9th, 2019 has dashed off a letter to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal demanding stern action and judicial inquiry against the culprits behind the hate crime where a man, identified as Shaukat Ali, became a victim to mob violence in Assam’s Biswanath, for selling beef.
A video of the assault circulated on social media shows the 68-year-old man being thrashed by the mob and asked why he was selling beef in the market. The incident took place on April 7th, 2019 in Assam’s Biswanath Chariali town. The irate mob, as heard in the video, also demanded Ali to declare his nationality, asking if he is Bangladeshi or if he has a National Register of Citizen (NRC) certificate.
In the letter, Rejaul Karim Sarkar, president of AAMSU Guwahati unit has laid down a total of 5 points for Sonowal to look into:
- The incident that occurred in the evening of 7th April 2019 in Biswanath Chariali is in every sense an incident of hate crime and totally unacceptable in a civilized world.
- The anti-social elements have destroyed the peace and harmony among communities residing in the land of Shankar and Azan.
- We condemn such an act of cowardice and hate and call for stern and exemplary punishment against the culprits in accordance with law.
- The police action and reaction in this incident seemed one-sided and it concerns us about the neutrality and commitment, and
- It is the call of the hour to initiate an independent high-level inquiry in regard to this heinous crime.
According to Assam police, Ali is a businessman and has been running an eatery in the area for the last 35 years. The enraged mob accused him of selling beef in the weekly Biswanath Chariali market, about 150-km South of Guwahati. The mob thrashed Ali and forced him to eat pork.
A case (No. 80/ 2019) under sections 143, 341, 325, 294(a), 295-A, 153- A(b) and 384 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered at the Biswanath Police Station. The Assam Police have arrested one in relation to the case.
Ali received injuries and is being treated in Biswanath Civil Hospital. “I was stopped from offering namaz and badly beaten by the mob for keeping beef in my hotel for sale. I was even stopped from offering namaz and forced to eat pork. I am doing this business for the last 40 years,” Ali told TIME8.
According to Ali’s brother, a group of 10 to 12 persons surrounded him and beat him up at Madhupur, while he was on his way home.
It may be mentioned that cow slaughter is not banned in Assam but permission is required from a veterinary officer as only the cows aged over 14 years are allowed to be slaughtered.