Eight Youth Congress activists were held in connection with slaughtering a calf in public in Kannur as part of their protest against the ban on sale of cattle at the animal markets for slaughter.
Police had recently registered a case against the activists under Section 120A of the Kerala Police Act on a complaint from Yuva Morcha district general secretary C C Rateesh.
The offence deals with the slaughter of any animal in a way that causes annoyance or inconvenience to the public and is punishable with imprisonment up to a year or a fine of up to Rs 5,000 or both.
Police said the arrests were made after incorporating two more sections of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and IPC sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence) in the FIR.
The video of the slaughter was shared by Kerala BJP chief Kummanam Rajasekharan on Twitter, describing the act as the "peak of cruelty". Beef fests had also been held across the state by the youth wings of the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in protest against the Centre's ban.
The Congress party had earlier suspended three Youth Congress leaders -- Kannur parliament mandalam president Rijil Makkutti, who led the protest, Josy Kandathil and Sharafudeen -- in connection with the butchering of the calf.
Makkutti was among those arrested.
The Youth Congress protest on May 27 in Kannur against the ban on sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for the purpose of slaughter hogged national headlines and triggered a public outrage for the cruelty shown by the protesters towards the calf.
The meat of the calf was distributed among the people for free. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had deplored the incident and the party had directed its Kerala unit to take strong action against those involved in the act.