Four men, identifying themselves as gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes), beat up a container driver and cleaner in Surat on Tuesday on suspicion of ferrying cows for slaughter. It was later found that the container was ferrying camels for sale in Maharashtra. The incident took place on National Highway number 8, when the container stopped to pay toll tax. The container was on its way from Mehsana to Dhule district in Maharashtra.
According to police, three youths in a car and another on a motorbike accosted the truck driver and cleaner. When the driver told the four men that they were carrying camels to Dhule for sale at a fair, the ‘gau rakshaks’ started thrashing the two accusing them of carrying a cow for slaughter.
The accused allegedly dragged the two out of the truck and beat them up. As traffic at the road built up, passersby came to the rescue of the two. However, the alleged ‘gau rakshaks’ managed to escape.
When Kamrej police station head constable Hemant Ratilal reached the spot and checked the container, it was found that the truck was indeed carrying camels. However, truck driver Khalid Pathan and cleaner Intezarali Dhobi lacked the license for transport of camels. An FIR under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has been registered against Pathan and Dhobi.
The police have also registered an FIR against the gau rakshaks for causing grievous hurt and criminal intimidation. The unidentified attackers are absconding.
Kamrej police inspector K D Rathod said, “We have registered an offence against gaurakshaks as they took law in their hands and even after knowing that there were camels in the container, they beat up the driver and cleaner making false allegations of cow slaughter. We have got the registration number of the vehicles on which gaurakshaks arrived and we will arrest them soon. We have also lodged a complaint against the driver under Animal Cruelty act. The container and camels are still in custody of police, while driver and cleaner are on bail.”