Eight people were arrested by Allavaram police in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district on Wednesday for allegedly beating up two Dalits trying to skin a dead cow.
Police, however, clarified that the incident, which happened late on Monday night, had nothing to do with “cow vigilantism” as suspected.
Narayana Rao, Gangadhara Rao and others were arrested and booked under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a police official said, adding they belonged to Kamanagaruvu village and were not “gau rakshaks”.
The villagers, looking for a missing cow, happened upon the two Dalits near a burial ground Sudhapalem village, trying to skin a dead cow. Suspecting that they killed the animal, the villagers beat up the Dalits.
State chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu expressed anger over the incident and warned of stern action against anyone attacking Dalits and disturbing law and order.
He reviewed the incident with director general of police (in charge) N Sambasiva Rao and additional director generals RP Thakur and AB Venkateswara Rao, directing them to take strong action against culprits.
The East Godavari district collector was also directed to take care of the medical expenses of the two injured, apart from giving them Rs 1 lakh each.
The cow had apparently been electrocuted, and its owner had engaged the two Dalits for burying it. The victims sustained severe injuries and were admitted to the Amalapuram hospital.