A police team which had gone to raid an illegal slaughterhouse in Badlapur area of Thane district was attacked by the beef mafia on Monday night. Gau rakshak & animal rights activist Chetan Sharma suffered serious head injuries in the mob attack and has been admitted in ICU.
As per a report in The Hindu, Chetan had been following up on the information about illegal slaughterhouses operating in the area for around six months. Finally, the Badlapur police sent a team with him to look into the matter.
When Chetan & the group of around 25 policemen reached the spot, they found a mob of 200-250 men already waiting for them. Nirali Koradia, an Animal Welfare Officer with AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India), who was accompanying the raiding party said that the accused seemed to be familiar with the police’s methods and had moved the cattle from the slaughterhouse.
“The mob attacked Chetan and the police with bricks and stones. He was also assaulted with iron rods and became unconscious. The police managed to get him out, but the mob followed them for quite some distance and kept pelting stones and bricks at their vehicles,” she said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IV) P.P. Shewale, who was at Badlapur station when the police team and Chetan were brought there, said, “This is a serious issue and we have filed an FIR in the matter. We are also finding ways to deal with the issue of illegal slaughterhouses.”
NewsBharati reports that despite police also coming under attack, they did not use their weapons in self-defence. Seeing police unable to protect him as he was being assaulted, Chetan who was carrying a revolver fired in the air.
Badlapur Police has lodged a case under IPC 147, 143, 149 and 353 and are searching for the accused.
Chetan Sharma has been assaulted by the beef mafia in the past as well –
- In March 2012, he was assaulted by workers of an illegal slaughterhouse in Taloja after receiving a tip-off that one Noor Ghulam Saab Patel was killing cattle there. Despite being accompanied by cops, he was beaten up. “I feel let down by the local police, which is why the animals could not be rescued as well”, Chetan had said then.
- In April 2012, he was part of a police party raiding an illegal slaughterhouse in Panvel that came under attack and was even fired upon; the slaughterhouse owner, P S Qureshi, was main accused in that case.
Some time back, a 45-year-old software professional Nandini was attacked by a 100 strong mob, chanting pro-Pakistan slogans, when she went with police to show the spot where illegal cow slaughtering was taking place in a Bengaluru locality. Nandini accused the police of being complicit in the mob attack and of being hand-in-glove with the criminals.
A ground report by Swarajya had captured the helplessness among farmers in the regions adjacent to Mewat belt of Haryana & Rajasthan, which is a hub of cattle smuggling and beef mafia. Farmer after farmer has narrated how they have no faith in police who are either helpless or hand-in-glove with the smugglers. “Force ki kami hai (we have limited force). Try resolving some of these things yourself, and we will try to support you,” said one cop to a farmer.
But instead of portraying the grim reality of the havoc wrought by the beef mafia, our ‘national’ media presents a distorted picture and goes into a frenzy only if a cattle thief is killed. As the Swarajya correspondent rightly wonders, “Who indeed can take on those criminals who have protection through lethal arms, an understaffed police, political forces, and media?”
A clear pattern emerges if one studies all these cases of attacks by the beef mafia – worst case, police is complicit with the criminals, and best case they have been conditioned by media & political pressure to turn a blind eye to these criminals. The areas where illegal slaughterhouses are located are unofficial ‘no-go zones’ where writ of the law hardly runs.
If any animal rights activist, unaware of ground realities or too idealistic to care, is insistent that police do its job and upholds the law of the land, then he/she is escorted to the ‘no-go’ area for a direct experience of why it is best to just look away from this cruel, but lucrative business.
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