Nagpur: Cow vigilantes were at it again. On Wednesday they thrashed a Muslim man in Nagpur, accusing him of transporting cow meat. But a day later, the Muslim was found to be a member of none other than the BJP.
Salim Shah Bharsingi was attacked by a mob who accused him of carrying beef. The incident was widely condemned and a video clip of it circulated on social media. Just when it looked like another case of mobs targeting a local apolitical Muslim, it came to notice that Shah was a BJP member after all.
Talking to media from his hospital bed, where he is recuperating from injures he incurred in the mob attack, Shah claimed that he has been a member of BJP for last 12 years.
There were also posters of him shared with local media showing him as the President of Muslim Minority Cell of BJP’s Katol Taluka. A lotus symbol and photos of prominent party members including Prime Minister Narendra Modi are prominently displayed in the background.
“I have been President of BJP's minority cell for the last 12 years for my district. This year I was made its general secretary,” said Shah. He is a trader and deals in cotton, soybean and pulses.
Shah was reportedly beaten up by four to five people on the pretext of transporting beef. He was thrashed with rods and sticks by a few men said to be members of Prahar Sanghatan, a fringe group that is allegedly linked to local MLA Bachchu Kadu.
“They got hold of me and started beating me. And they beat me so badly that I thought I was going to die. I kept telling them that it was mutton and not beef,” said Shah. His case may be the first instance of a registered BJP member having been roughed up by cow vigilantes.
The attack on Shah comes a fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called violence wrecked across the country in the name of 'cow', mostly against Muslims and Dalits, as unacceptable.
“Killing people in the name of Gau Bhatki is not acceptable. This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve...no person has the right to take the law in his or her own hands in this country [sic]...Violence never has and never will solve any problem,” Modi had said in a public address in Ahmedabad on June 29.
The condemnation of such attacks came just a day after ‘NotInMyName’ protests broke out through the country following the mob lynching of 16-year-old boy Junaid Khan on a train in Haryana.