Police in Rajasthan’s Kota district have arrested five people for allegedly being part of a mob that assaulted two men who were transporting bovines to Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday night.
Praveen Tiwari (30), the owner of the bovines and Ahmad Ali (40), the driver of the truck in which they were travelling, sustained injuries in the attack and received treatment in a hospital in Kota, said officials.
“My family is engaged in the business of dairy farming near Dewas in Madhya Pradesh. I had come to Jaipur to purchase bovines. After spending Rs. 2.25 lakh, I purchased seven milch cows near Chomu in Jaipur before we started for MP on Tuesday,” Tiwari told The Indian Express.
He added that on their way back, the truck had stopped near the Hanging Bridge toll plaza in Kota district on Tuesday night where they were attacked.
“The staff of the toll plaza along with several other people started assaulting us as soon as they saw we were transporting cows. Over 40 people assembled in the area and everybody was beating us. Some claimed to be members of Hindu outfits. They were forcibly trying to make us confess that we were taking the animals for slaughter,” said Tiwari.
Ali, a resident of Tonk district in Rajasthan said that he has been driving inter-state vehicles since the past 22 years but had never faced such an incident.
“The men were abusing and beating us. That’s when somebody who was passing by informed the police. If the cops hadn’t come, they would have killed us. I often go on long tours to states such as Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra but such an instance has never happened,” said Ali.
The police said that the two men were assaulted for around 15-20 minutes before the police arrived.
“We have arrested five people -Arjun, Yogesh, Ajay, Naresh and Arjun- in the matter and preliminary investigation suggests that they worked at the toll plaza. During questioning the accused have revealed that they felt the animals were being illegally transported,” said Rajendra Kumar Meena, station house officer, RK Puram police station.
He added that the victims had tried to call the police but the mob had taken their phones away.
“We are investigating the role of some outsiders too, who were present at the time of the attack. Tiwari had bought the cows for dairy farming and all of them are milk-producing animals. The two men were given primary treatment after the attack,” said Meena.
Tiwari said that the mob also took Rs. 7,000 which he was carrying at the time of the attack.
“It will be ascertained after further investigation that whether the accused have any links with cow protection groups,” said SHO Meena.
Tiwari’s brother said that they had all the requisite documents to transport the animals.
“Everyday around 250-300 litres of milk is produced in our dairy, near Dewas, and we have all the requisite permits to transport cows after their purchase. We generally buy the animals from Punjab or Rajasthan because good breeds such as Jersey and HF are available here,” said Naveen Pandit, the brother of Tiwari.
Pandit said that he had also come with Tiwari to Rajasthan to buy cows but had stayed back in Chomu to make some more purchases.
“I rushed to Kota after coming to know of the incident. The police kept the cows at a cow shelter but a few of the cows had fallen sick after the incident. We don’t know whether the animals will survive by the time they are released to us,” claimed Pandit.
Rajasthan has seen several instances of violence by cow vigilantes in the past few years. Last year, Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Haryana was lynched by alleged cow vigilantes.
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