The Kerala police arrested eight persons, including Youth Congress leader Rijil Makkutty, on Thursday over butchering a calf in public in Kannur last week as part of a protest against the central government's order banning the sale of cattle for slaughter.

Kannur Youth Congress president Rijil and seven other party workers have been held for their barbaric style of protest. The charges of killing an animal in a way that causes annoyance or inconvenience to the public and unlawful assembly have been slapped on the arrested.

Also read: Kannur beef protests: Youth Congress' public calf slaughter finds no support, cops register case

The charges could earn imprisonment up to one year or a fine of up to Rs 5,000 or both. However, it is learnt that the accused might be able to secure bail as the sections are not of a serious nature.

Triggering a widespread row, the Youth Congress workers had butchered the animal in full public view in an open vehicle on Saturday and raised slogans against the Centre. The meat was later distributed free of cost to fellow party workers and onlookers.

Also read: Kerala calf slaughter proves too hot, Congress drops all association with event

The incident drew heavy flak from across the country and made national headlines. Cutting across party barriers, a number of political leaders, celebrities and activists had come out against the gory act.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi himself condemned the incident and termed it “thoughtless, barbaric and unacceptable”. The Congress leadership in Kerala then suspended three Youth Congress members - Rijil, Josy Kandathil, Sharafudeen - for being involved in the incident. 

On the basis of a complaint from a Yuva Morcha worker, the police then registered a case against the Youth Congress activists.