A mob kicked and punched two Muslim women on Tuesday on the suspicion that they were carrying beef in Mandsaur town in Madhya Pradesh, provoking outrage.
A mobile phone recording of the assault showed the two women being beaten for close to half an hour as policemen watched. The meet turned out to be that of a buffalo.
Here are 10 things to know about the incident that is set to dominate Parliament:
1. Police arrested the two women for not having a permit to carry buffalo meat. They were first booked under a 2004 anti cow-slaughter law but authorities charged them under an older 1959 law when the meat turned out to be that of a buffalo. They are out on bail.
2. On the same day, two other people, who were carrying buffalo meat, were arrested by Ratlam police. All four are from the same family and were booked under sections of the Madhya Pradesh Krishi Pashu Parirakhsan Adhiniyam 1959.
3. Cow slaughter is banned in the state. If anyone is caught slaughtering a cow, found with beef or carrying or transporting beef in Madhya Pradesh, he/she will be booked under sections of Madhya Pradesh Govansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam, 2004.
4. Slaughter of buffalo is legal but people need permission from civic bodies to set up certified slaughter houses. Under the provisions of the permission, the buffalo has to be more than 15 years old and physically incapable. The animal should also be certified by a veterinary doctor and should be disease and infection free. If anyone found slaughtering buffalo illegally (without permissions) or carrying/ transporting buffalo meat, they will be booked under sections of the Madhya Pradesh Krishi Pashu Parirakhsan Adhiniyam 1959
5. Hindu groups have focused on Mandsaur and Ratlam in recent months because of population of Muslims is more in these regions, compared to other districts.
6. Top Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders say they checked the slaughtering of cows and buffalos in Mandsaur. This has caused a spike in transportation of beef and buffalo meat from nearby Jaora, an erstwhile princely state with a Muslim-majority population.
7. Police officers say no cow slaughter happens in Ratlam and buffalo slaughter houses are run with permits. Eight people running illegal buffalo slaughter houses were booked in the past month.
8. Police say most information about cow slaughter given by vigilante groups end up being cases involving buffalo meat. But the VHP says the experts are wrong and the meat should be sent for forensic examination.
9. Hemant Moolchandani , a VHP activist and office bearer of the Mandsaur district, said the mob that beat up the Muslim women were not from the Hindu Dal and no such body existed in the district. He claimed that the mob were co-passengers in the train with the Muslim women and were enraged when they found the meat being carried.
10. The four men arrested have been booked under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC.