New Delhi: Two Muslim women were slapped, kicked and abused by a mob led by cow vigilantes at Mandsaur railway station in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday over suspicion that they were carrying beef. Police watched and did nothing to save them even as others filmed the incident on their smartphones.
The women were reportedly caught carrying 30 kg of meat after which police was informed. However, local doctors who examined the 30 kg of meat found that it was not beef, but buffalo's meat.
In a mobile phone video taken by one of the many spectators who did nothing to stop the attack at Mandsaur, around 350 km from state capital Bhopal, policemen are seen making half-hearted attempts to control the crowd.
The police were at the railway station to arrest the two Muslim women; they say they had been tipped off about the women travelling with a large quantity of beef to sell.
Even after the police caught them, the women were assaulted by a crowd that had gathered at the railway station.
In the video, the women are cornered by a crowd that is heard screaming "Gau Mata Ki Jai (Hail holy cow)". They are slapped and punched by the women in the mob until one of them collapses.
The policemen apparently don't try hard enough to protect the women from the blows.
Speaking to media soon after the incident, BJP MLA Yashpal Sisodia said, "Those women are criminals and it was women who beat them up, so it's a reaction to an action."
He further claimed that earlier also, one of these women had been caught by police.
Meanwhile, many outraged opposition Parliamentarians stormed the well of the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday morning, to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "silence" on violence against Dalits and Muslims by alleged cow vigilantes.
BSP chief Mayawati raised the issue of violence against Dalits and Muslims by alleged cow vigilantes, and what she called "inaction" against them by the central government and the governments of BJP-ruled states.
She was soon joined by Congress members who also protested on the same issue.
"The BJP raises the slogan 'Mahilaon ke samman mein, BJP maidan mein' slogan, yet in BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh women thrashed on beef rumours," Mayawati said. She was referring to the ruling party's slogan that says it urges respect towards women.
She said the BJP isn't following its own slogan.
Congress party MPs then took up the issue saying Dalits and Muslims are increasingly becoming targets of violence.
"We agree that cows should be protected but we are against using cow protections as an excuse to target Dalits and Muslims," Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress said.
"Violence in any state is condemnable, we don't justify it, but the Madhya Pradesh government took action on the issue that Mayawatiji spoke about," said the BJP's MA Naqvi, who's minister of state for minority affairs.