Oppn-Govt spar in RS over attacks by alleged cow vigilantes in Rajasthan

RSTV Bureau
FILE: A scene protest by Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha during the Parliament session.

FILE: A scene protest by Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha during the Parliament session.

Congress party today raised the issue of lynching of a 55-year-old man by an alleged group of cow vigilantes in Rajasthan. Raising the issue in Rajya Sabha, Madhusudan Mistry termed it disturbing. Other Congress MPs also joined in, even though Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien urged the Opposition that issue couldn’t be raised at this forum.

“There is break down of law and order machinery in Rajasthan… gang of gau rakshak, acting like an extra-constitutional authority, have been stopping and checking the trucks for animal smuggling,” Mistry said.

The MP also claimed that the victims were transporting animals after legally purchasing them for milching and farming purpose. “They even showed them receipt of purchase, Rs 35,000 was extracted from them by the gang but still they were attacked…” Mistry said as he flayed the Rajasthan state government.

Countering the allegations, MoS Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi rejected the reports published in media and said “no such incident took place as claimed by the Opposition,” inviting a massive opposition protest.

“I am extremely sorry that the minister is so ill-inform… even the international press has written about the incident,” leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said citing reports in New York Times.

“I have never come across such an insensitive government…” Azad said amid cross protest from both the sides.

As pandemonium grew, Deputy Chairman rejected any further discussion on the issue, though he asked the government to verify media reports.

Earlier, three people were arrested by Rajasthan police on Wednesday after a 55-year-old man died at a hospital in Rajasthan’s Alwar district after allegedly being beaten by a group of cow vigilantes. The deceased, Pehlu Khan, and four others, including his two sons, were beaten brutally by some locals at Behror who suspected they were smuggling cows, police officials said.

Reacting on the episode, state Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria had said it was “alright” if some people caught those who were “illegally” transporting animals, though he maintained that “no one has the right to take the law in their own hands”.

The incident took place on Saturday when as many as 16 people were allegedly transporting 36 bovine animals, reportedly illegally, in six pick up vans.

They were on their way towards Haryana from Jaipur when the vigilantes intercepted two of their vehicles in Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway.

Pehlu Khan, his sons Aarif (22) and Irshad (25) were in the first van, while two more persons Ajmat (28) and Sharif (24) were in the second. All of them were thrashed and their vans damaged.

The remaining vans were stopped by the police in which 11 people were found and arrested under relevant sections of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, ASI of Behror police station Vikram Singh said.

Following Khan’s death, a case of murder was registered against six persons namely Om Yadav, Hukamchand Yadav, Naveen Sharma, Sudhir Yadav, Rahul Saini and Jagmal, while 200 other “unidentified” people were listed as accused.

Late on Wednesday, the Alwar police arrested three persons in connection with the case.

“Three accused have been arrested tonight and the hunt for others is on,” SHO Behror police station Ramesh Chand said.

(With inputs from the PTI)