International desk, April 10: A Muslim man was abused and heckled for allegedly selling beef in Assam’s Biswanath district on Sunday. Police detained one person after a video of the man on his knees in deep slush, begging to be let go, was widely shared on social media.Shaukat Ali, 68, was beaten on the road and forced to eat pork as punishment by locals, say sources. He is currently being treated at a government hospital.
NDTV cannot verify the authenticity of the video or the affiliations of the mob attacking the man.
According to district police, two separate First Information Reports (FIR) have been filed – one of them by Shaukat Ali’s brother. The police have started an investigation and are on the lookout for the men seen in the video, say sources.
The mob, while threatening Shaukat Ali, asked him if he had licence to sell beef and whether he was from Bangladesh. “Are you Bangladeshi? Is your name in the NRC (National Register of Citizens)?” someone in the mob can be heard asking him.
Assam is implementing the NRC in a bid to weed out illegal citizens. A final draft, published last year, saw names of over 40 lakh people, among a total of 3,29,91,384, applicants missing.
The state saw widespread protests, with people taking to the streets over the NRC. Non BJP leaders as well as allies were angry, with influential groups such as the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), civil society organisations and leading intellectuals criticising the NRC.
“A case have been registered under the appropriate sections, and police are investigating the matter. The Superintendent of Police has been instructed to go strong about it. Nobody will be spared. The guilty will be punished, and the police have increased vigilance across the place. There is no cause for fear at all; the people are free to come out and vote freely,” said Assam Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia.
The BJP in its manifesto released on Monday said it “will expeditiously complete” the NRC on priority. The party also said that it would implement NRC in a phased manner across the country.
Biswanath, under the Tezpur Lok Sabha constituency, goes to polls in the first phase on April 11.