The BJP worker who was beaten, dragged on the road by alleged cow vigilantes in Maharashtra's Nagpur district on Wednesday was carrying beef, the police have confirmed.
The police had arrested four persons for thrashing Salim Shaha, 34, a member of the BJP's Katol unit, and sent the meat for forensic analysis. The lab report came back as "positive" for beef, Superintendent of Police (Nagpur rural) Shailesh Balkawde told news agency Press Trust of India yesterday.
He added that action will be taken against Mr Shaha in accordance with the law, he said.
The Nagpur (rural) unit president of the BJP, Rajiv Potdar, was shocked to know that Mr Shaha was carrying beef. "He would be dismissed from the party. Stern action should be taken against him according to the law, but people must not take law in their own hands and resort to violence in such cases," Mr Potdar told PTI.
Even as the BJP called it a "stray" episode, the ruling party's coalition partner Shiv Sena, and others including, the Congress and NCP have condemned the incident.
Mr Shaha was returning home on his motorcycle when five-six men stopped him near a bus stop in Bharsingi village on suspicion that he was carrying beef. He was then kicked repeatedly by the group.
He was found unconscious by the police and taken to the hospital. "It wasn't beef but mutton, I told them, but they still beat me," Mr Shaha had said.
"What happened with me was wrong, those who beat me should be punished."
The attack came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's warning that killing of people by cow vigilantes is unacceptable. "Killing people in the name of Gau Bhakti is not acceptable. No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands in this country," PM Modi had said last month.
Sixteen-year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death on a train in Haryana by a mob following an argument over seats. The teen, his brother and friends were also called 'beef-eaters' by their attackers.