“They abused us a lot and physically attacked us. After a lot of pleading, we somehow managed to escape," one of the victims told TNM.

In viral video armed cow vigilantes harass two Muslims during lockdown
news Communalism Saturday, April 25, 2020 - 15:52

In a shocking incident of cow vigilantism, two Muslim men in Telangana were allegedly assaulted and abused for carrying buffalo meat. The incident took place on Wednesday in Ghatkesar, under the Rachakonda police limits. A viral video shot by one of the perpetrators shows Hafiz Aleem and his brother being heckled and threatened.

Hafiz and his brother were returning from a beef stall when they were allegedly stopped by the men and harassed.

The video shows a group of men with lathis threatening the brothers. One of them can be heard referring to the gunny bag on Haziz's scooter and asking, “What is that? Did he kill someone or what?”

Two policemen, who arrived at the scene to intervene, can also be seen in the video. The visuals show one of them beating Haziz's brother with a lathi, reportedly to punish him for violating the lockdown rules.

Recalling the ordeal, Hafiz told TNM, "I went to Bhongir to my friend’s beef stall. While I was returning home along with my brother, I was stopped twice near Edulabad. At the first checking point, there were only a couple of men. They obstructed us because of religious profiling. They let us go and probably alerted their gang. This mob of 15-20 stopped us a few metres ahead.  They harassed us for several minutes.”

“They abused us a lot and physically attacked us. After a lot of pleading, we somehow managed to escape," he added.

Hafiz also alleged that the police assaulted them for violating the lockdown. 

In the video, the vigilantes can be seen inciting each other to attack Hafiz, who is forced to open the bag and show them the contents. In the end, Hafiz and his brother can be seen taken by the policemen on bikes.

The Ghatkesar police have booked Hafiz, a resident of Rasoolpura, for violating the lockdown rules and travelling beyond the permitted 3 kms to buy essentials. His vehicle has also been seized.

On social media, the video shot by the vigilantes has been shared widely on platforms like TikTok and others. Some have edited the video and added a song in tribute to Gaumata, to add to the communal narrative.

“Those comments are too hurtful. The video which is made communal by adding a song has put our lives in risk,” Hafiz said. 

Speaking about the incident, Inspector P Raghuveer Reddy of Ghatkesar police station, denied that the victim was physically assaulted. The inspector, however, confirmed that Haziz's vehicle was seized and a case registered against him for violating the lockdown.  The police have also registered a case against the men, who allegedly assaulted the brothers, under Section 339 of the IPC for wrongful restraint. No arrests have been made yet.

Amjed Ullah Khan of the Majlis Bachao Tehreek political party tweeted the video and questioned why the police did not ask the men with lathis to leave since they too were violating the lockdown.

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