Rewari police arrested three persons posing as cow vigilantes and demanding money from three persons transporting sheep and goat from Rajasthan to Delhi on Tuesday night.
Police said it is the first instance of action against fake cow protectors after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned in August to watch out for imposters.
Police said the accused were travelling in a Mahindra Bolero without registration plates. They intercepted a canter carrying about 130 sheep and goat near a petrol pump in Dharuhera -- 42 kms from Gurgaon. The accused posed as cow vigilantes and tried to check the vehicle. The incident happened around 1:30 am, police said.
Investigating officer assistant sub-inspector Jitender Kumar said on checking the canter, the trio found sheep and goats but took two persons hostage in their Bolero. “The accused snatched their mobile phones and demanded Rs 25,000 for releasing them. The accused also threatened to hand them over to police,” Kumar said.
The officer said a police party was on night patrol when two hostages screamed and sought help. Kumar said the accused even argued with the police that they were cow vigilantes and the hostages were cow smugglers. Kumar said the imposters were drunk.
Police identified the trio as Arjun Kumar, Devinder Kumar and Manoj Kumar. They were travelling from Bhiwadi to Dharuhera. The trio was booked under section 342 (wrongful confinement), 379-B (theft), and 384 (extortion) of the Indian Penal Code.
Kumar said three persons -- Banesh, Kannu, and driver Veeru -- who were transporting animals were also booked under the Animals Cruelty Act as they did not possess a licence for transportation of animals. They were travelling from Dausa in Rajasthan to Delhi.
Haryana Gau Sewa Aayog chairperson Bhani Ram Mangla said police have been directed to identify fake cow vigilantes. He said the organisation has received a list of more than 150 genuine cow vigilantes and strict action would be taken against imposters.