An alleged cattle smuggler was arrested by police on Saturday and reportedly thrashed by a mob in Rajasthan’s Alwar district.
According to the police, a truck carrying bovines was intercepted near Yadav Nagar around 3.30 am on Saturday.
“We had information that cow smugglers were trying to transport bovines to Haryana and had erected barricades in the area. A truck was seen approaching the barricades but after seeing us, the vehicle turned around,” said Ajit Singh, the station house officer of Ramgarh police station.
He said the people in the truck opened fire at the police, who retaliated by firing back.
“Out of the three men in the truck, two escaped in the dark and one was arrested. A mob had, meanwhile, assembled after hearing the shots,” Singh said.
He added that the arrested man was later identified as Zakir, from Utawad village in Haryana.
“We found six bulls and two cows in the truck and two of the animals were dead. We arrested Zakir, booking him under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter & Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act… and for attempt to murder,” said Singh. He added that Zakir was admitted to a hospital after suffering injuries and was later sent to judicial custody.
The police said Zakir sustained injuries when he fell down while trying to flee the police.
“A group of people had assembled as the accused were firing on the police…. But the public didn’t beat Zakir much. Most of his injuries are a result of falling down and getting trapped under the truck,” said Anil Beniwal, circle officer, Alwar City (south)
Members of the Meo panchayat, however, said Zakir was severely beaten up by the mob before he was arrested.
“I went to see Zakir in hospital and from his injuries it was obvious that he was severely beaten up before being arrested. Why does this happen time and again, when the mob takes the law into its hands?” said Sher Mohammad, chief of Alwar’s Meo panchayat.
He also criticised the police for alleged “inaction”. “We demand strong police action against those who beat up Zakir. It is strange that the police would need help from cow vigilantes to protect the law,” Mohammad said.