The attack took place on Monday. A video purportedly recorded by the attackers and shared online shows the four men chained to a car and being beaten with iron rods.
The victims, belonging to a Dalit community at Mota Samadiyara village of Una taluka, claimed that they were skinning an already dead cow, but the six accused said the animal was killed before being skinned, police said.
“We have arrested three persons in this connection while three others are absconding. We have also called a team of forensic science laboratory experts and veterinary doctors to ascertain if the cow was already dead before being skinned or was killed for skin,” Gir Somnath district’s deputy superintendent of police KM Joshi said.
According to the FIR, the six accused — identified as Ramesh Giri, Balwant Simer, Ramesh Bhagwan, Rakesh Joshi, Rasikbhai and Nagjibhai Vaniya — came in a car and began abusing the villagers on finding that they were skinning a cow.
They then allegedly took out iron rods from their car and started beating them up. Two people sustained severe head injuries and were referred to Junagadh civil hospital for treatment, Joshi said.
According to the complainant, Vasrambhai Sarvaiya, the accused also took away their mobile phones.
Cow protection vigilante groups have been active in various parts of the country against slaughter of cows and consumption of beef. Several state governments too have tightened laws on both. In one of the most brutal attacks over cow protection, 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched in Bisada village near Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, by a Hindu mob for allegedly killing a calf for meat.