Trinamul Congress members seize cattle
Trinamul Congress workers, who were on a vigil to stop cattle smuggling through Hura in Purulia district, on Sunday night intercepted 27 trucks ferrying cows from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to various places in Bengal and alleged that the consignment was being transported illegally with the help of police.
From the 27 trucks, 149 animals were seized and eight of them were found dead.
In the wake of substantial damage to the popular perception of Trinamul because of numerous allegations related to cattle smuggling against leaders, the seizure of the cows on Sunday night might encourage party workers elsewhere in Bengal to follow suit.
The trucks were plying along NH60 when Trinamul workers stopped them in the jurisdiction of Hura police station. The ruling party’s workers claimed that the cattle were being smuggled out of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh with the help of police.
“We have been vigilant, especially on the highway, to check cattle smuggling through our areas. We had information about the illegal transportation of cattle last night and intercepted the animals. We will not allow such illegal activity in our locality,” said Chandan Dutta, the Trinamul youth wing chief at Hura.
Trinamul’s Hura panchayat samiti chief Prasenjit Mahato rushed to the spot and called the police.
“The cows were being transported illegally with the help of police. Our youth wing’s workers were on vigil and impounded the trucks carrying the cattle. We have handed them over to the police and asked them to ensure that such illegal activities in the area are brought to an end,” said Mahato.
“The police encourage such malpractices and we (Trinamul) end up getting blamed. We will not tolerate this any longer.”
Trinamul workers also demonstrated when the police arrived.
Cattle smuggling has been taking place across the Gangetic plains since the Partition. A closer look suggests that in Narendra Modi’s new India, legislation and vigilantism made it hard for farmers to sell unproductive cows for slaughter.
The police denied the charge and instead said a patrol team had intercepted the trucks and rescued the cattle after receiving a tip-off.
“We have rescued 149 cows, eight of which died during transportation. The cattle were loaded onto trucks from UP and Bihar and were going to various locations in Bengal. We seized the trucks and arrested 33 persons and started a specific case,” said S. Selvamurugan, Purulia district police chief.
The police said they had started the case under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
“The drivers told us that the cattle were being transported for farming purposes, which we need to verify. There were some documents,” said a police officer.
The police produced all the 33 arrested persons in a court in Purulia. Five of them were remanded in police custody for 10 days and the rest 28 were sent to jail for 14 days. All of them are residents of UP and Bihar.
Abdul Alim Ansari, a BJP leader in Purulia, said it was an “eyewash” by Trinamul to control damage from the corruption charges pertaining to cattle rustling.
On August 23, the police had intercepted a container truck bearing the name of a dairy company and rescued 22 cows, five of which died during the transportation.