A Muslim school teacher in the Indian state of Assam was arrested for allegedly carrying beef in her lunch box to school.

Dalima Nessa, the headmistress of Hurkachungi Middle English School in the Lakhipur area of Goalpara district, was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by locals. She is currently in judicial custody.

"The incident occurred on 14 May, when the headmistress got beef from her house so that she could offer it to the guests, including the teachers and villagers," the superintendent of police officials told The Independent.

He further added that some of the people were not happy with the gesture and one of them filed a police case against her. She has also been suspended by the school.

Nessa has been charged under sections relating to promoting enmity between different groups and outraging religious feelings. The sale and consumption of beef are banned in many states in India, but not in Assam completely.

However, according to the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, the "sale of beef in areas which have a predominant population of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and other non-beef-eating communities or within a radius of 5 km of any temple, or other religious institutions belonging to Hindu religion" is banned.

The Act, which was passed last year, also gives police the power to inspect, search and seize properties of persons accused of earning money through illegal cattle trade.

The clamour to stop illegal cow slaughter and trade gained momentum after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government took over in New Delhi in 2014. The party and its leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are known for their Hindu hard-line stance. Hindus consider cows sacred, but beef is widely consumed by many non-Hindu communities in the country.

Assam, which has a ban on cow slaughter, has witnessed a surge in incidents of cow vigilantism in recent times.

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Cows are considered sacred in India Reuters