Three different cases of cow smuggler terror have come to the forefront in the past few days which demand some serious thought on curbing this unwanted menace. Cow vigilantes taking law into their own hands cannot be justified in their light alone, but eliminating this smuggler menace would definitely address the root cause of cow vigilantism.
The first incident involves a software engineer, B Venketeswaran Kannan (35), from Hyderabad who had planned a tour with family and friends to Bhubaneswar; en route at Rayagada (Odisha) area they witnessed cattle traffickers who were severely beating up around 500 livestock after binding the legs of the animals with plastic ropes.
On Kannan and his group’s intervention the traffickers got irked and started to rough up the 4 males with sticks and axes and also molested 3 females in the group. Getting no response from police helpline, the tourists begged for forgiveness and bended at the traffickers’ feet. Kannan suffered serious head injuries in the attack. The tourists later filed an FIR and met the District Collector. The police are trying to identify the smugglers based on mobile footage captured by the tourists.
The second incident took place at Badaun district in Uttar Pradesh where cow smugglers slaughtered half a dozen stray cattle and packed their flesh on a truck while discarding the skeletons in the open. When villagers protested, they were fired upon by the smugglers. Angry at police inaction, the villagers blocked the highway and lodged a complaint with Sahaswan police station. UP police has suspended the entire Dial 100 team who were supposed to have been patrolling the area, and assured the villagers that justice will be meted out.
The third incident is from Baramanpur village, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh where cattle smugglers looted a pair of buffaloes from the home of a farmer named Sangram Yadav on a pick-up truck. On hearing the noise made by smugglers at the dead of the night, Yadav and his wife woke up and tried to confront them. But the smugglers easily overpowered them both and also snatched the mangalasutra (auspicious necklace worn by married women) off Yadav’s wife. Each buffalo was valued around a lakh rupee, which in case of such poor families is a matter of life and death. Later, the cattle smugglers also stole a buffalo from Sitai Bhaskar’s house who recognized two thieves and has filed a case against them.
The fourth incident is from Ratua, Malda, West Bengal where a woman Chinta Mandal (46) was grievously attacked by cattle smugglers after she protested their frequent destruction of her vegetable garden while taking stolen through her house. The woman is admitted in Malda medical college while the 6 accused are absconding.
These incidents may be isolated but definitely the smugglers get their courage from some nexus with the administration and law enforcement. This issue of cattle smuggling is a matter of grave concern and even life and death for poor people who earn their livelihood through the means of cattle rearing. If this menace is tackled on a war footing, the resultant cow vigilantism will also die down. Will those who speak up frequently against cow vigilantes, now speak up against the root cause of this problem?
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