A MOB led by self-styled cow vigilantes in Rajasthan assaulted officials from the Tamil Nadu government who were part of a five-truck convoy transporting 50 cows and 30 calves purchased by the state’s animal husbandry department from Jaisalmer, police said.
At least 50 persons have been booked by police for the attack that took place on Sunday night on NH 15 in Barmer district. Barmer SP Gagandeep Singla said that seven policemen, including a Station House Officer, were also transferred for “not acting in time”.
Singla described the attackers as “drunk anti-social elements”, four of whom were arrested on Monday. The mob blocked the highway, damaged the trucks, and assaulted the driver, helper and a veterinarian accompanying the convoy, said police. The mob also tried to set one truck on fire but was prevented by police.
The animals, belonging to Rajasthan’s famed Tharparkar breed, were purchased by the Tamil Nadu government for breeding under the National Agricultural Development Programme (NADP), they said.
The officials accompanying the convoy had all the relevant documents needed for the transaction, they said.
The attack comes two months after a 55-year-old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan succumbed to injuries after he was attacked by a mob near Alwar for transporting cows that he had legally purchased.
On Sunday, police said, officers who reached the spot tried to convince the crowd of over 200 persons that the cows were legally purchased for breeding, but to no avail. “The Tamil Nadu officials are in Jaisalmer. The cows have temporarily been put up in a local gaushala. We are making alternative arrangements for their transportation,” Singla told The Indian Express.
“The accused are not from any particular group or organisation. They were drunk anti-social elements. We have booked 50 people under sections 332 and 353 (voluntary hurting a public servant on duty) and relevant sections of the National Highways Act,” he said.
“Some policemen who did not react in time despite calls from the Tamil Nadu officials have been shunted to the police lines. They include Jairam, the SHO of Sadar Police Station, Sub Inspector Dhruv Prasad and Assistant Sub Inspector Majid,” said Singla.
Western Rajasthan’s Tharparkar cows are popular for their adaptability to arid regions and ability to provide more milk with a higher fat content. The Tamil Nadu government has been promoting the Tharparkar and other native breeds under its NADP initiative launched in 2012.