Police on Sunday booked the chief of a cow protection group and at least 20 others in Patiala district’s Rajpura town for allegedly beating up truck drivers carrying cows after Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at self-styled cow protectors twice over the weekend.
Members of the cow protection group allegedly beat up the drivers, recorded their act on their mobile phones and uploaded the videos on social networking sites including YouTube.
Police lodged the First Information Report (FIR) based on the mobile video clips circulating on social networking sites.
The accused have been identified as Gau Raksha Dal’s Punjab president Satish Kumar, Gurpreet Happy, Gauri, Kala, Anu and other unidentified people. The FIR was registered under sections 323, 324, 341, 342, 382, 384, 148, 149 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Rajpura city police station.
Rajpura station house officer (SHO) confirmed the development and said that they are investigating the case with the help of a technical team as there were many videos uploaded on different sites.
Sources said police have asked the accused to join the investigation to evade arrest.
The police action came a day after Modi described attacks on Dalits as a blot on humanity but said such assaults were being exploited by some leaders for political gains.
“If you want to attack Dalits, attack me first. If you want to fire at Dalits, fire the first bullet at me. But the nation will not forgive us if attacks on Dalits continue like this,” Modi told a massive gathering of BJP workers on Sunday.
Modi’s comments come roughly a month after four Dalit men skinning a dead cow were flogged by alleged cow protectors in Gujarat.
A video of the incident went viral, triggering massive protests and hurting the BJP’s chances in assembly polls next year in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat – where the sizeable Dalit community may vote against the party.
Opposition parties have repeatedly alleged that Modi’s silence on the mushrooming cow protection vigilantes and Dalit atrocities encourage fringe groups to take the law into their own hands.
Earlier on Sunday, Modi urged people at a separate event to be alert against “fake” cow protection vigilantes. He said “fake” cow protectors should be exposed and punished, asking state governments to take action against such elements.
“These so-called gau rakshaks (cow protectors) have nothing do with cow protection. All they want is to create tension in (the) society,” the Prime Minister said.
This was the second time in 24 hours that he had lashed out at the so-called cow protectors.