Ranchi, June 27: A Muslim dairy owner in Giridih, rumoured to have slaughtered a cow, was severely thrashed by a mob this afternoon but timely police intervention helped save his life.
To tackle the 1,000-member-strong mob armed with stones and sticks, police opened fire. A police bullet injured another person, who may or may not have been a cow vigilante, in the crowd.
The duo apart, over 30 policemen were injured as they tried to tame the mob for over two hours. Videos doing the rounds on WhatsApp show the victim's house was set ablaze but these have not been substantiated by the police.
Both the dairy owner, Usman Ansari, and Krishna Pandit, who took a bullet in the leg, were still in Giridih at the time this report was filed at 9pm. They are critical and may be brought to Ranchi for treatment later tonight, police have said.
Tensions ran high this afternoon when the carcass of a cow with its throat slit was discovered at Beria haat in Deori thana area of Giridih, 60km from the district headquarters and 300km from Ranchi.
People immediately suspected Usman, who runs a dairy business in nearby Bhandara village, to have a hand in the killing. A frenzied mob of around 100 people marched to Usman's home and started hitting him with stones and sticks. Though Deori police rushed to the spot in less than half an hour, by then the crowd had swelled up to nearly a 1,000 and started hurling stones at the men in uniform.
Mob belligerence forced the police to open fire, unconfirmed sources putting the number at around 80 rounds. A badly beaten-up Usman was rescued in the evening.
"Police struggled for over two hours to rescue the man. Over 30 officers of the district, including SDO, DSP and OC, and police jawans were injured as the mob hurled stones at them," said ADG (operations) R.K. Mallick.
A police source said that Usman did not slaughter the cow. The animal belonged to the dairy owner, but died of illness. Before Usman could dispose of the carcass, a mischief-maker slit the cow's throat to frame the man. Usman apparently had served 10 years in prison earlier for a murder and had many enemies. At the same time, people of all communities bought milk from him when he opened his dairy business.
Over 500 armed policemen from Ranchi, Hazaribagh and Koderma are camping in the area.
Ramgarh: One Vasudeo Manjhi, 60, and five cattle were electrocuted when a high-tension electric wire fell on them at Kujju in Ramgarh district on Tuesday, prompting a two-hour roadblock.