One more person was arrested for allegedly beating up and force-feeding pork to a Muslim man for selling beef in Assam, taking the total number arrests to 12 including a BJP ward member, the police said.
The police on Thursday picked up a 24-year-old man in connection with the crime in Biswanath district that created a political storm in the state and outside.
Among the 12 arrested persons, Ram Prasad Das alias Maina (40) is a ward member of the BJP in Gorehagi panchayat.
He is also one of the contractors of the Madhupur market, where the incident took place.
Investigation is going on to find out the role of some other persons in the incident, the police said.
A 48-year-old Muslim man, Shaukat Ali, was allegedly beaten up and forced to eat pork by a group of people who were angry over his selling beef in his stall in Madhupur weekly market on April 7. Consumption of pork in a taboo among most Muslims.
The group also beat up a Hindu contractor of the market for allowing Ali to sell beef dishes.
Cow slaughter and consumption of beef is not banned in the state but the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950, permits slaughter of only cattle above 14 years of age after due certification by a veterinary officer.
The incident came to light after a video of the incident that has gone viral showed a dazed Ali surrounded by some people who angrily demanded to know from him where he came from and whether his name figured in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that intends to weed out illegal migrants.
The police registered a case after receiving a complaint from Sahabuddin Ali, the brother of the victim.
It created a huge political storm as the Lok Sabha elections in Assam was to begin just four days after that.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal gave orders to the DGP to nab all the culprits even as widespread condemnation poured in from across the state.
Ali claimed that initially his father and now he has been selling cooked beef at his food-stall in the market for over three decades and never faced any such issue earlier.
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