2 Dalit Men Beaten Up, Heads Shaved for ‘Cow Theft’ in UP’s Ballia

“The calves did not belong to anyone. They were stray,” police said.

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Two Dalit men were allegedly beaten by Hindu Yuva Vahini activists in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district after they were accused of cow theft on 8 January. They were tonsured and paraded on Ghazipur road in Rasra town, while being made to hold and wear placards that read “cow thief”.

The Indian Express quoted police as saying that the men – identified as Uma and Sonu – are both farmers aged 22 who hail from a neighbouring village. The two were arrested after an FIR was filed on the complaint of one Pravin Srivastava, under section 379 and 411 (punishment for theft) of IPC for allegedly stealing cows.

Uma alleged that Hindu Yuva Vahini activists were behind the act and that they were paraded around Rasra town and forced to wear tyres around their neck. On his complaint, an FIR was lodged against 15 unknown persons under section 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, PTI reports.

The two youths admitted to stealing the calves and we have arrested them for cow theft. We have also registered a cross FIR against 15 persons on charges of assault and under sections of the SC/ST Act because the two youths are Dalits. We have arrested one Shambhu Malla. The rest are yet to be identified and footage and photos are being examined.
Circle Officer (CO), Rasra, Avadhesh Kumar Chaudhary to Indian Express

The officer added that the calves were stray and that no one had claimed ownership. “The calves did not belong to anyone. They were stray. But it became a case of theft because the animals were picked up from near the temple premises. Why the youths stole the calves needs to be probed,” the CO told the daily.

(This is a developing story and will be updated)

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