A pick-up van driver, transporting animal carcasses, was brutally assaulted by a group of villagers in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura on Sunday night.
According to reports, the villagers intercepted the vehicle after they spotted animal bones and carcasses inside it. The mob then held the driver, a Muslim man in his 30s, captive and assaulted him over suspicion of ferrying beef and smuggling cows.
However, a preliminary investigation by the police suggests that the vehicle was part of a village cleanliness drive to dispose of carcasses of animals.
No cows or beef was being transported in the vehicle, officials said, adding that the man has been admitted to the hospital for treatment.
A video, which has gone viral on social media, shows the mob abusing and assaulting the man, while his shirt had been ripped off.
The man is seen begging for mercy in the video, but the mob shows none and thrash him with a leather belt. Only one man intervened and tried to stop the assault but he was pushed aside by the irate villagers.
Police have registered a case against several people under relevant sections of the IPC.
"We found that Rameshwar Valmiki, a resident of the Govardhan area in Mathura, has a license from the district panchayat to dispose of animal carcasses. He had sent the vehicle from Mathura to a nearby district. Our initial investigation has not found any cows or beef inside the vehicle. We have registered an FIR based on the complaint filed by the victim ", Martand Prakash Singh, Superintendent of Police (Mathura), said.
16 people, including some members of the right-wing groups, have been named in the FIR, reports said.