Over three dozen vehicles, including state roadways buses, trucks and private cars, were torched by mobs in Pataudi and neighbouring Dharuhera. The locals also blocked National Highway-8, thereby disrupting traffic for six hours.
A rumour about a truck transporting cows for slaughtering reportedly sparked the violence with local people attacking trucks on the highway and setting on fire dozens of vehicles.
A mob in Helimandi - about 25 kilometres from Gurgaon city - intercepted a convoy of 25 trucks loaded with 195 stray cows dispatched by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh for Barsana Gaushala in Mathura.
The mob thought the party to be cattle smugglers and attacked them after offloading the animals. The fire of violence soon spread to Rewari where people torched a police post and two government vehicles.
“The stray cattle roaming in Chandigarh were caught by the administration and were being shifted to Uttar Pradesh. The vehicles had all the requisite papers and were accompanied by six employees of the Chandigarh civic body,” said deputy commissioner of police (south) Rahul Sharma.
Soon after the scene, the sub-divisional magistrate, Patuadi, Manoj Khatri, and assistant commissioner of police Usha Kundu reached the spot and tried to convince the mob that the cattle were being taken to Barsana Gaushala and not for slaughtering. However, the mob was not convinced and set 15 vehicles on fire and left one damaged.
Deputy commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi and commissioner of police Alok Mittal then went to the spot and called a meeting of the municipal councillors and the sarpanches, and appealed to them to maintain peace in the area.
Earlier in the morning, the convoy was stopped by villagers in Kullana in Jhajjar district on the same pretext but was allowed to pass thereafter.
As a result of the incident, National Highway-8 and the Pink City Expressway remained chocked for hours and commuters from Manesar had to wait for three hours on the highway before they could reach Gurgaon.
Gurgaon police have booked 20 persons for torching vehicles and damaging public property, and cases have been registered against them in Pataudi and Farukhnagar police stations.