Now Assam Sees First Arrests on Charges of Possessing Beef for Consumption

One of those arrested, a minor, has been sent to an observation home, while the other two were sent to 14-day judicial remand.

New Delhi: Three Muslims, including a minor, were arrested from Jorhat town in Assam on April 4 night for openly carrying beef and thereby hurting the religious sentiments of some people, media reports quoting Assam Police sources said.

As per media reports, the Bhugdoi police station in Jorhat received an anonymous call on April 4 evening saying that some labourers from the industrial training institute in the area were preparing to consume beef. Soon after it, one person from the area named Mridupavan Bora reached the police station to file an FIR regarding the incident. Thereafter, the police reached the spot and recovered half a kg of beef from the trio. They told the police that the beef was procured from a slaughterhouse nearby.

They were then taken into custody and a case was registered under section 295 (a) of the IPC for committing deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of a class of society, and also section 5 and 6 of the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950.

While the minor was sent to the observation home in Jorhat’s Lisubari area on April 5, the other two – Abdul Rahman, a 19-year-old resident of Kokrajhar, and Shah Jamal Haque, 21, from Dhubri – were sent to 14-day judicial custody by the chief judicial magistrate of Jorhat district.

The police have sent the seized meat to the veterinary department for identification and determination of its quality. It has also begun an investigation into the legal status of the slaughterhouse.
Though incidents of arrest – mostly people belonging to the Muslim community – on similar charges have been widely reported from different parts of the country, this is for the first time someone has been arrested in Assam for procuring beef for consumption.

In Assam, the slaughter of cows is banned except on issuance of fit for slaughter certificate at designated places. A cow above 14 years of age or one that has become permanently incapacitated due to disease, work or injury can be consumed. As per the Act, cows of any age can be slaughtered in the state on the occasion of Id-ul-Zuha.

In the other northeastern states like Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, there is no ban on the consumption of beef and cow slaughter. In Manipur, although the king had decreed prosecution for cow slaughter in 1939, beef is now widely consumed by locals.