GUWAHATI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to Assam Government regarding an incident that took place last year when a Muslim man was allegedly assaulted for selling beef. The NHRC has also directed the Assam director-general of police to submit a report within six weeks starting March 12, 2020, on actions taken against the guilty as well as the police officials who did not do anything to prevent the assault.
The notice was issued to the Assam government asking why a Muslim man who was selling beef should not be paid Rs 1 lakh as compensation. The victim, Shaukat Ali,68, was beaten up by some 'hooligans' for allegedly selling beef in his restaurant at a market in Assam’s Biswanath Chariali town last year and was hospitalized due to several injuries. It was also alleged that the culprits also force-fed Ali with pork.
The NHRC had taken up the case after the leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly and Congress MLA, Debabrata Saikia lodged a complaint on April 12, 2019, against the miscreants and the police and insisted on pursuing the case even an FIR was registered.
The NHRC said, “The market is in Hindu-inhabitation area and selling of beef hurts the religious sentiments of the local people and some youths thus insulted and disgraced Ali. Some unidentified persons also inserted something in his mouth but it could not be ascertained if it was pork.”
The NHRC also said it is clearly “discernible” from complaint that a public servant along with some local unemployed youths was collecting revenue from the market which is against the law and the victim was disrespected and disgraced on the basis of caste and religion which violated the victim's human rights.
In 2019, post the incident, one person was arrested for allegedly beating up Shaukat Ali in Biswanath district and forcing him to eat pork after accusing him of selling beef. Director-General of Police Kuladhar Saikia, in a tweet, had also said that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has told them to take strict action against all the accused and all of them will be booked soon. Shaukat Ali who was on his way home was questioned by a mob whether he has a valid license to sell beef and if he is a Bangladeshi. “Later the mob beat him black and blue and allegedly forced him to eat pork,” a police officer said, that a police team rescued him after being informed of the incident by someone over the telephone. Ali was treated at a local hospital, police said. A purported video of the incident, which has gone viral on social media, shows Ali kneeling in the mud on the roadside and being aggressively questioned and then assaulted, drew large scale condemnation across the state.