NEW DELHI, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Opposition members in Indian parliament Wednesday created an uproar to protest the beating of two Muslim women by cow vigilantes in central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
The members belonging to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress party trooped into the well of the Upper House (locally called Rajya Sabha) of Indian parliament, shouting slogans against the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government and accusing it of failing to protect minorities and women in India.
The Muslim women were publicly thrashed at a railway station on Tuesday in presence of policemen at Mandsaur district, about 342 km northwest of Bhopal city, the capital of Madhya Pradesh.
BSP leader Mayawati alleged that policemen present on the spot watched as mute spectators. BSP has following among millions of low-caste Dalits.
"BJP, on the one hand, talks of protecting the girl child and giving dignity and honour to women but on the other unleashes goons on them," Mayawati said.
A senior Congress party leader Anand Sharma questioned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on attacks on Dalits.
"He has done Chai-pe-Charcha (talk over tea) and Mann-ki-Baat (straight talk from heart) but why not on this issue," Sharma said.
Dalits were previously known as untouchables in India and fall at the bottom of India's caste hierarchy.
Indian television news channels showed the video footage of two women being slapped, kicked and abused by a mob led by cow vigilantes and policemen doing little to stop the attackers.
Reports said policemen were at the railway station to arrest the two Muslim women after receiving information the two were carrying a large quantity of beef to sell. Despite being caught by police, the cow vigilantes kept beating the women, showed the video grabs.
Reports said police recovered 30 kg of meat from the women, which later on was found to be buffalo meat and not beef as rumored.
Local government minister Bhupendra Singh told media that people should not have taken law into their hands.
"Veterinary report says the meat that was recovered was found to be buffalo meat," Singh said. "If the women file a complaint, those who have taken law into their hands will be investigated and certainly action will be taken."
The two women have been arrested and charged for selling the meat without permit, reports said.
Earlier this month, four Dalit men believed to be tannery workers were assaulted by the cow vigilantes while they were trying to skin a dead cow in Una town of Gujarat state. The attack triggered massive protests after video of these men went viral, showing them stripped, tied to a vehicle and being flogged with iron rods while being paraded.
Majority of Hindus consider cow to be sacred, and its slaughtering is banned in most Indian states. To defend cows, groups under the patronage of rightwing Hindu organizations have come up in rural areas of India to protect them and stop sale of beef.
Beef, however, is part of diet to many minority groups in the country, who consume it without any taboo.
Cow slaughtering is a sensitive issue in India and sometimes flares up communal passions.
Last year, a 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was beaten to death and his son injured by a Hindu mob at Dadri in Uttar Pardesh over rumors that the family was eating beef.