Three days after violence broke out in Dharuhera,when a mob torched a number of vehicles and blocked NH-8,people from over 360 villages in the area gathered for a mahapanchayat on Monday to determine what action should be taken against cattle smuggling,which allegedly led to the death of a youth in the area.
After the mob torched the vehicles on Friday,the fire tenders took a long time to douse the smouldering remains of vehicles on the NH-8. Fire officers finished the operation in the early hours of Saturday.
Ravi (23),who claimed that he had witnessed the violent protest,said: The violence has its roots in the incident in which cattle rustlers murdered a young man in Vaaspur village. The problem is that police have completely failed to stop cattle smuggling.
Cattle smuggling and the perception that police is intentionally not taking action against Vikrants killers lies at the heart of Fridays mayhem.
To stop the rising cases of cattle theft in the area,an organisation Gae Bachao Samiti had sprung up. Vikrant,who was a part of this organisation,was attempting to pursue cattle rustlers when he was run over.
Vikrant had informed police about the incident. But they took no action in spite of the smugglers passing a check post erected for this very reason, G L Sharma,district Congress president,alleged.
In the mahapanchayat on Monday,the villagers demanded martyr status for Vikrant. They alleged that a wider conspiracy had led to the incident on Friday.
After Vikrants murder,tempers were frayed and the situation was tense. The fact that trucks carrying cows were going to Mathura via the route which passed through the area and not via the main highway is suspicious, a village headman said.
On Friday,a group of villagers spotted a truck filled allegedly with meat on the highway near Maalpur village in Dharuhera.
The truck had a flat tyre and had stopped for repair. The presence of this truck sparked off violence as villagers were incensed at Vikrants murder.
Later,police said forensic reports confirmed that the truck was carrying buffalo meat and not beef. Police had taken the truck driver and his helper in custody and registered a case of cow slaughter.
While rumours of cow slaughter were spreading,a Chandigarh Municipal Corporation convoy of 25 trucks,transporting 195 cows,had been earlier intercepted by villagers in Pataudi. Assuming that the convoy belonged to cattle thieves,villagers set some vehicles ablaze and destroyed the rest.
At the time that this convoy left Chandigarh,police vehicles were protecting it. But by the time they reached Pataudi,police werent present. Moreover,the route they chose to take was not the direct route and was risky due to the tension, Rao Inderjit Singh,Gurgaon Congress MP,said.