Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh: A minister of Madhya Pradesh has added to the controversy over the beating of two Muslim women in his state following rumours of their carrying beef - saying the women were at fault and the beating was minimal.
- "The beating was minimal," said state home minister Bhupendra Singh
- He also said the women were to blame for the incident
- The women, who were carrying buffalo meat, were attacked on Tuesday
"The beating was minimal. The women, with whom these incidents occurred, have also accepted it. The mistake was of the women's," said the state's home minister Bhupender Singh.
Cellphone videos of the two women being cornered and being slapped, kicked and punched by a crowd at the Mandsaur railway station as the police made halfhearted attempts to protect them, had created a furore in Parliament on Wednesday. The opposition had targeted the BJP, which also rules at the state, with BSP chief Mayawati leading the charge.
The state police's slow action in the matter - a case being filed 24 hours after the incident - had further incensed the opposition.
Today, the police arrested four persons for the assault, who were later released on bail.
"The police are not investigating the case properly," one of the attacked women, Salma, told NDTV. "They let off the accused... on what basis? Why did they not involve us, ask us to identify them?... Did the home minister not see on television how brutally we were attacked?"
The women had been found to be carrying 30 kg of buffalo meat, not beef, but the police said they had no permit for it, which made it illegal. The women claimed the members of the Bajrang Dal, who had targeted them, had torn up the permits they were carrying.
Yesterday, a state BJP leader had admitted that the Bajrang Dal members were indeed present on the platform, since they "helped" the police with such incidents, but denied that they had beaten up the women. The attack, he had said, was carried out by members of the public, who were upset to hear that the women were carrying beef.
The railway police investigating the case, however, said they found no evidence that the attackers were linked to any Hindu group.
Concerned that the controversy over the issue is still continuing, the Mandsaur administration has ordered an internal inquiry and may also recommend action if any police officer is found guilty, sources said.