Indian police shoot at Muslim men carrying cattle again, accuse them of slaughter

Published: December 11, 2017
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A member of the Bhartiya Gau Raksha Dal cow vigilante group raises his arms to stop a truck at a roadblock set up in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh in early July. 
PHOTO: REUTERS

A member of the Bhartiya Gau Raksha Dal cow vigilante group raises his arms to stop a truck at a roadblock set up in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh in early July. PHOTO: REUTERS

Police in India’s Rajasthan Alwar shot at a truck allegedly being used to smuggle cows early on Monday, officials said, claiming people in the vehicle were the first ones to open fire.

Indian officials stated Monday’s shootout did not lead to any fatalities and one person was arrested.

This is the second such case in days. Last week, a man was killed when police in Alwar similarly opened fire to stop a truck killing one, Hindustan Times reported.

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“They were smuggling seven cows and six calves from somewhere near Narnaul to their village Palla in Nuh through Alwar. When they saw the police barricading at Gadpur, they fired at the police parties before taking a turn into a locality,” said Bhiwadi circle officer (CO) Siddhant Sharma.

He added saying that 3-4 shots were fired first at the police team, which returned 4-5 shots.

The vehicle eventually got struck in a narrow street and the men fled on foot before one of the suspects, identified as 35-year-old Umar, was caught since he hurt his leg, according to police. The others were named as Tahir, Haroon and Zubair.

Alwar is close to Punjab. The region has a prominent settlement of Muslims, many of whom are from impoverished backgrounds and trade in cattle for a living. People often buy cattle from the several weekly markets and take them to their village, often passing by Alwar.

In Monday’s case, the police also accused the cattle transporters of smuggling. The CO said the bovines were bought for Rs 10,000 and were being taken for slaughter. It was not clear on what basis the claim was made.

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A case against the four has been registered under the bovine act, sections of arms act, and for attempt to murder and assault on public servants.

Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and the animal’s preservation has become a prominent, often provocative issue since the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Vigilante groups with members who belong to right-wing groups have attacked and killed people found carrying cows or over suspicions that they ate beef. The targets have overwhelmingly been Muslims.

As the incumbent Modi government has been campaigning for a complete ban on cow slaughtering in India, its northern state has imposed 10% stamp duty for ‘cow protection’, The Hindu reported.

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