'Cattle smuggler' dies, Alwar list lengthens

A purported cattle smuggler was killed on Sunday in Alwar while being chased by police who shot out the tyres of his truck after an alleged shootout - the fourth such death in the Rajasthan district in less than a year.

By Pheroze L. Vincent
  • Published 27.02.18
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New Delhi: A purported cattle smuggler was killed on Sunday in Alwar while being chased by police who shot out the tyres of his truck after an alleged shootout - the fourth such death in the Rajasthan district in less than a year.

Aas Mohammed, 35, hailed from Haryana, the destination of the truck in which he and others were allegedly transporting cattle when the police chased them from Dausa in Rajasthan after a tip-off.

"The vehicle broke the barricades and they fired several bullets at us. The man broke the windshield and jumped out in an attempt to escape but came under the tyre," Banwari Lal, station house officer of Raini police station, told The Telegraph over phone.

"We recovered 23 cows and bulls from the vehicle, out of which five were dead. It was not theft but smuggling to slaughter houses for beef," the officer added.

But superintendent of police Rahul Prakash felt it might have been a theft. "From the intelligence we have so far, the animals probably came from Dausa. The small truck was overloaded and the animals were likely to have been stolen. His accomplice Rahul, a notorious smuggler from the same village, got away. In addition to the Bovine Act, animal cruelty provisions will also be applied.... We fired three rounds and they fired six," Prakash said.

Two cattle transporters were earlier lynched by cow vigilantes and one was shot by the police.

Sale of cattle is regulated in the state under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995, which outlaws the transport of any bovine which is likely to be slaughtered.

Sher Mohammed, a community leader who witnessed the post-mortem, said conditions had been created where a man is killed for an alleged crime for which the maximum punishment was five years in jail. Mohammed is a former sadar (chieftain) of the Meo Panchayat, which mostly represents Muslims of the Mewat region of Haryana and Rajasthan.

"The police told me that he was chased for 6km and they had shot out his tyres. The vehicle was damaged, it ran out of control and the tyre rims were red hot from friction. He jumped out and was crushed by these hot wheels.

"Conditions have been created where a man is killed while making a livelihood for a crime, that if proved, is punishable by a maximum of five years. People are scared to question the police, lest they be framed in more cases," he said.

The former sadar added: "Those accused of lynching are out on bail because of this drive to win votes on the back of cows. Unclaimed cattle have seriously injured 10 people in the past 15 days in Alwar alone. A farmer can't sell them because transporters are too scared to touch them. Animals are more precious to the government than humans."

State home minister Gulab Chand Kataria had justified the lynching of legal cattle transporter Pehlu Khan in April last year.