In a gap of three hours, two police stations in Mumbai and Thane (rural) registered two seperate FIRs against persons on charges of illegal slaughter in the wake of the recently enforced beef ban law.
While the first FIR was registered at Worli police station after they found severed cattle heads, horns, meat, blood and entrails at a butcher shop, Mumbra police station too followed suit after similar ‘evidence’ cropped up at another butcher shop on the outskirts of the city .
The two cases come within a fortnight of the Bombay High Court directing the state not to prosecute people found to be in possession of beef for the next three months. The HC had, however, clarified that import of beef, after the law had has come into force, is prohibited.
While police “raided” butcher shops in Worli and Mumbra on Tuesday morning and have stated in their reports that they found severed cattle heads, horns, meat, blood and entrails at the shops, no cases were registered for eight hours as policemen were confused whether to register a case under the recently amended Act and also had to first ascertain if the meat was banned in the state.
The delay, however, irked the complainants, both members of Bharatiya Gawvanshrakshan Samvardhan Parishad, that looks after the welfare of cattle. The members approached the police claiming that their sentiments were hurt. “Despite the ban, people are still selling beef. Slaughter of the animals is not permitted, our culture ought to be respected. Qureshi is no exception,” said complainant Sharad Gupta, Worli resident and a member of Bharatiya Gawvanshrakshan Samvardhan Parishad.
By evening, Worli police arrested Mohammed Asif Qureshi after filing an FIR under Sections 6 and 9 (a) of the Maharashtra Animal Protection Act (Amendment), 1995, and Section 410 (prohibition of sale of of animal, etc, except in market) and Section 411 (butchers and persons who sell or supply flesh of animal to be licensed) under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. Under the provisions of the Animal Protection Act a person found guilty faces one-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000.
Gupta along with 15 other residents approached the Worli police station at 7.30 am on Tuesday morning and demanded an FIR to be registered in the matter. After the police inspected Qureshi’s 200 sq feet shop in Worli’s BDD Chawl area, BMC officers were called in to weigh the seized meat by 11 am.
Of the 200 kg found, 35 kg were sent to a veterinary hospital in Parel.
While the hospital is yet to confirm whether the samples come form bulls or bullocks, the Worli police registed the
FIR around 2 pm based on “prima facie” evidence, said Vinay Kulkarni, senior police inspector, Worli police. “We have charged Qureshi primarily for illegally slaughtering animals and also booked him under relevant sections of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mumbra police filed an FIR against Bade Babu Qureshi after slapping Sections 8 and 9 (a) of the Animal Protection Act and relevant sections of The Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, 1949, for illegal slaughter in an unauthorised slaughterhouse.
A team of six policemen with 10 members of the same cell raided a butcher shop at Rashid Compound around 9am. “We conducted a search with the police and caught the remains of two slaughtered bulls inside an illegal slaughterhouse. As soon as we reached the area, the accused downed the shutters and broke the door at the back of the shop and moved some of the meat. Unfortunately, we could not save any animals or catch all the accused,” said Rajendra Patil, one of the volunteers of the cell.
“Once the vet from the Thane Municipal Corporation confirmed it was the remains of a bull, we filed the FIR against Qureshi,but haven’t arrested him,” said Dilip Patil, police inspector, Mumbra police station.
Meanwhile at Malegaon, the two Malegaon locals, Jafar Ahmed Shaikh (40) and Mohammad Suleman Akhtar (23), caught last Saturday
with beef, following the High Court order were released on bail on Monday. The police is now trying to locate a local who co-ordinated with the two for transporting the beef. According to investigating officer, police sub inspector Harshal Kulkarni, the two locals caught have claimed to be just drivers who were asked by a local to transport the beef.
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