A group of Dalits were allegedly beaten up by six persons for skinning a dead cow at a village in Gir Somnath district, following which three persons were arrested, police said today.
The victims, belonging to a Dalit community at Mota Samadiyara village of Una taluka in Gir Somnath, claimed that they were skinning an already dead cow, while the six accused claimed that the animal was killed before being skinned, police said.
A purported video showing the persons being beaten with iron rods and sticks went viral on social media platforms like Whatsapp. In the video, some people are seen chained to a car, while the accused are seen thrashing them mercilessly.
“We have arrested three persons in this connection while three others are absconding. We have also called a team of forensic science laboratory (FSL) experts and veterinary doctors to ascertain if the cow was already dead before being skinned or was killed for skin,” Gir Somnath district’s Deputy Superintendent of Police K M Joshi said.
The incident took place yesterday when the six people started beating up the Dalits after they saw them skinning a dead cow near Mota Samadiyara village, which is a forest area, Joshi said.
At least two persons sustained severe head injuries and were referred to Junagadh civil hospital for treatment, he said.
According to an FIR lodged at Una police station, the six accused, identified as Ramesh Giri, Balwant Simer, Ramesh Bhagwan, Rakesh Joshi, Rasikbhai and Nagjibhai Vaniya, came in a car and allegedly started hurling casteist abuses on the group on finding that they were skinning a dead cow.
They then allegedly took out iron rods and wooden sticks from their car and started beating them up. Around seven persons sustained injuries. According to complainant Vasrambhai Sarvaiya, the accused also looted three mobile phones. Out of the six accused, Ramesh, Rakesh and Nagjibhai have been arrested so far, police said.
A case was lodged under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity), 324 (causing hurt by dangerous means or weapons), 323 (causing hurt), and 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), and relevant sections of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and further probe was on, police added.