A man who was arrested on charges of transporting beef was found hanging inside a police station lock-up in India’s Gujarat, in what has been allegedly reported as a suicide.

Qasim Abdullah Hayat was arrested on Wednesday, Sept.15, for allegedly transporting cow meat to deliver to his local customers, which according to the state’s law is a punishable offense.

Hayat was being held at the Godhra B Division police station and was yet to be produced before a magistrate.

According to the police, a CCTV camera in the police station captured Hayat taking the extreme step in the wee hours on Thursday.

Hayat’s body was recovered and sent to a medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.

The death has sparked outrage with the family demanding an investigation into the incident. 

“The FIR (First Information Report) against the accused was filed at 7:45 pm Wednesday and he died inside the lock-up around 3.20 am Thursday morning. We have the CCTV footage. It was a partial hanging. We have initiated the medical procedures, accordingly to prepare a report,” Superintendent of Police, Panchmahal district, Leena Patil told The Indian Express,

According to the FIR, on Sept. 14 the police patrol team received a tip-off that the accused was transporting cow meat to Godhra in the luggage compartment of a white two-wheeler.

The police team set up a watch at the Godhra Bhamaiyya overbridge and blocked the two-wheeler when it arrived.

The FIR states, “It (the two-wheeler) had a plastic bag hanging in the front, which was opened in presence of the panch witness. The bag contained the meat of a slaughtered animal that could not be identified. When the man riding the two-wheeler was asked to identify himself, he said his name was Qasim Abdullah Hayat, a resident of Idgah Mohalla in Godhra. He confirmed that he was the owner of the two-wheeler. The luggage compartment of the two-wheeler also had more meat, including portions of limbs and a tongue.”

The accused told the police that it was goat meat which he had bought from a butcher and was to be delivered to five persons in the locality.

The police confiscated the two-wheeler and began an investigation “on suspicion that the tongue found in the meat was possibly from cow slaughter”.

A preliminary examination by a veterinary doctor identified the sample as cow meat but advised an expert opinion from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Surat.

The meat weighed 25 kilos and was worth Rs 5500 ( $75 approx.), the FIR stated. A sample was sent for test to the Surat FSL, while the police buried the remaining meat in a grazing land, as per provisions of the cow protection law, the FIR states.

The report of the Surat FSL arrived on Sept.15 confirming that the sample to be of cow meat, following which the FIR was booked against seven people.

According to the FIR, five women customers, who had placed orders for the meat and the butcher in Sevaliya, have also been booked as the accused.

They were booked under the Indian Penal Code Section 429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle), the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 Section 11 (treating animals cruelly), and under the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2017, which prescribes punishment for direct or indirect selling, keeping, storage, transport, offer or purchase of beef or beef products in any form and punishment for unauthorized slaughter with imprisonment for a term that may extend to seven years but not less than three years along with a fine up to Rs 50,000 ($680 approx.).

Prison Representaion image. Pixabay.