In the first case of cow vigilantism in Bihar, a week after the JD(U) tied up with the BJP to form the state government, three men were allegedly beaten by local residents in Bhojpur Thursday on suspicion that they were transporting prohibited meat in a truck. The truck, which was intercepted near Shahpur, has been seized and meat samples sent for laboratory tests, said police. Police suspect that the truck, which was bound for West Bengal, was carrying buffalo meat.
Cow and buffalo slaughter is banned in the state, according to The Bihar Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act, 1955. Police have arrested the three who were assaulted and identified them as Sarfuddin Khan and Ajmulllah Khan from Bikramganj and Gulam Khan of Hariharganj in Rohtas district. However, those who intercepted the truck are yet to be identified, said police.
“We have arrested the three and conducted a raid at one location in Ranisagar based on the information they provided, located a slaughterhouse and sealed it. The three have been booked under provisions of the 1955 Act. Similar incidents were reported from Shahpur in 2009 and 2014,” said Daya Shanker, Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Jagdishpur. ”Only the driver suffered a minor injury. Local youths beat up the driver, and there was no law-and-order problem as such. We promptly intervened and seized the truck, and sent the meat sample for laboratory tests,” he said.
Speaking about the incident, Bihar Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras said, “We are getting the Bhojpur matter probed by the district administration. We have asked for all the details”. Asked if the BJP joining the government could have provoked the attack, the LJP leader said: “One must not look at such things through the BJP-LJP prism. It is a law-and-order issue”.
Residents of Shahpur said the incident took place at around 6 am when the truck left from Ranisagar, a Muslim-dominated locality. The truck was intercepted by a group of men at Shahpur Chowk, who assaulted the three men inside, including the driver, who said they were carrying buffalo meat to West Bengal, said residents. The Ranisagar area has no legal slaughterhouse, said police.
Following the incident, local residents staged a protest and created roadblocks to protest the “police’s inaction and inability to check beef trade in the area”. The protest was called off after police assured action on the issue. The 1955 Act prohibits the slaughter of cows, calves, buffalo, bulls and bullock unless permitted by authorities — such permission is granted only for bulls or buffaloes that are over 25 years old and cannot breed. The Act also prohibits the export of cows, buffaloes, calves and bulls from Bihar. Shahpur police station in-charge Bipin Kumar said that local residents had previously complained about cases of prohibited meat being transported from the area.