Three days after violence broke out in Dharuhera with a mob torching vehicles and blocking NH-8,people from over 360 villages in the area gathered for a mahapanchayat on Monday to determine what action is to be taken against cattle smuggling,which allegedly led to the death of a youth in the area.
Ravi (23),who claimed that he had participated in 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 the police are intentionally not taking action against Vikrants murderers lies at the heart of Fridays mayhem. To stop the increasing cases of cattle theft in the area,an organisation Gae Bachao Samiti has 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 checkpost that had been erected for this very reason, G L Sharma,district Congress president,said.
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 the murder of Vikrant,tempers were frayed and the situation was tense. The fact that an entire squadron of trucks carrying cows was going to Mathura via the route which passed through the area and not the easier road via the main highway is suspicious, a village headman said.
Last Friday,a group of villagers had 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 repairs. 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 had set vehicles ablaze. At the time that this convoy left Chandigarh,police vehicles were protecting it. But by the time they reached Pataudi,the police werent there. Moreover,the route they chose was not the usual one and was risky due to the tension, Gurgaon Congress MP Rao Inderjit Singh.
Vikrants family,however,alleged that the convoy,which was carrying cows,had no fodder and that some of the cows were dead.