Jaipur: A lawmaker of Rajasthan’s ruling BJP, speaking on a the mob beating of an alleged cow smuggler on Saturday, has declared: “If you smuggle cows, you will be killed”. Gyan Dev Ahuja, known for controversial statements, insisted that the man was never beaten up, that the truck fell on him.
A man called Zakir Khan was arrested for cattle smuggling after he was pulled out of his truck and beaten by villagers on Saturday. The police had tried to stop his truck, in which there were eight cows, but Zakir allegedly drove through the barricades. The police also claim those in the truck fired at them. Villagers stopped the truck and attacked Zakir Khan. Three others with him ran away.
Reacting to the incident, Gyan Dev Ahuja said: “Mera toh seedha seedha kehna hai ki gautaskari aur gaukashi karoge to yu hi maroge (If you smuggle and slaughter cows, then you will be killed). The cow is our mother.”
The BJP legislator from Ramgarh also rubbished that Zakir Khan had been beaten up. “As the public was following the truck, it overturned, resulting in the injuries… The people didn’t beat him…he was injured because the vehicle overturned,” he said.
Mr Ahuja is known for his extremist views. Last year, at the height of a stand-off between the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the government, he had said that 300 condoms and 200 liquor bottles were found each day on the campus of the prestigious university.
His latest comments have done nothing to calm the atmosphere of fear and hostility in Alwar following a series of cow vigilante attacks.
In April, Pehlu Khan was beaten to death by a mob of vigilantes on the Delhi-Jaipur highway for transporting cows. The police had named cow protection groups and the leader of a local Gaushala or cattle shed for the attack, but the accused were let off by the state Criminal Investigation Department.
In November, Ummar Khan was shot dead on the Alwar-Bharatpur border, again by alleged cow vigilantes. The police accused him of smuggling cattle. Three people were arrested and charged for murder.
This month, the police have had two encounters with alleged cow traffickers. One man was killed in a shootout with the police on December 7.
Alwar has recorded the highest number of cases filed under the Rajasthan Bovine Act for cow protection this year. The police have now been directed to set up “Gau Raksha Chowkis” or check posts to control cattle trafficking. Many fear it may only provoke more attacks; policemen here have been given rifles and quick response teams.