On the suspicion of trading cow skin illegally, four young men were stripped, tied to a car and thrashed by vigilantes in Gujarat in broad day light.
The attackers uploaded a video of the assault online as a warning. After the footage went viral three of the attackers have been arrested.
The incident took place on Monday in Gir Somnath, about 400 km from Ahmedabad.
The attackers are seen aggressively confronting and interrogating the men, who were tannery workers carrying animal skin.
“Where did you get the cow skin?” one of the attackers was heard demanding in the video. The workers tried desperately to explain that they got the hide legally and not from villagers who had slaughtered any cow.
In the video, vigilantes in broad day light are seen taking turns to hit the suspects who were earlier stripped and tied to a vehicle.
On Tuesday, the attackers allegedly uploaded the video online as a warning. The footage was widely shared and helped the police zero in on the accused. Two of them are still missing.
A man who claims to be a member of the BJP ally Shiv Sena claimed that cow meat was found on the men.
“We had information that a few people were slaughtering cows and eating beef. We have informed the police and they will conduct further inquiry,” said Sena leader Ramesh Goswami.
Last month two men were forced to eat concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee in Haryana, allegedly in altercations for illegally transporting beef.
In September, a Muslim man was lynched in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over rumours that he had beef in his house. Amid outrage over the incident, “cow protection groups” became proactive in many states.