Vehicular traffic on the Kalakote-Rajouri road remained disrupted for nearly seven hours as angry villagers on Thursday morning held demonstration and set ablaze two Valley bound Tavera vehicles smuggling bovine animals from Jammu.
Six people including four cattle smugglers have been arrested by police and half a dozen cattle rescued. Both the vehicles were on way to Budgam via Mughal road.
Significantly, this is the second incident in less than a month and fourth in two months wherein bovine cattle have been found smuggled in passenger vehicles in border Rajouri district. Earlier on November 12, police had seized a tempo traveler illegally carrying half a dozen bovine animals.
The cattle smugglers’ modus operandi was the same this time as well. They had administered some intoxicant to make cattle unconscious and then accommodate them in the vehicle by removing their rear seats.
Giving details, sources said that the police first intercepted both the vehicles at Potha around 4.30 am. However, when cops came on their side for searches, both the drivers broke through the naka and drove towards Sia Sui. Sensing something wrong in the vehicles, cops immediately alerted their counterpart at Kalakote.
In the meantime, smugglers too felt that it would be difficult to continue journey towards Valley along with the cattle. They drove their vehicles on a link road to Kothian village and abandoned the cattle there before returning to Sial Sui.
However, as some local people had seen them bringing out cattle from the vehicles, they raised alarm. As the smugglers fled abonding the vehicles, the people set them ablaze.
The police parties, who were already looking for the vehicles following alert sounded by a naka party at Potha too reached there and they apprehended all the smugglers following hot chase.
The incident led to tension in the area with people holding demonstration on the road. The vehicular traffic remained suspended for nearly seven hours and people lifted their dharna only after senior civil and police officials reached there and assured them of stern action against the accused.