Activists of Hindu rightwing groups on Wednesday attacked Muslim cattle traders in Jharkhand’s Palamu disrtrict and “freed” more than 100 bovines in the latest incident involving cow vigilantes in the state.
Sources said that the cattle were later forcibly taken away by a group of Muslims from the Satbarwa police station where they were kept.
Two Muslim cattle herders including a minor boy were killed and hanged at Jhabar village in the state’s Latehar district in March triggering nationwide outrage.
Sources said, tension gripped Satbarwa after a group of Hindu activists intercepted 117 cattle on the National Highway 75 and set them free. The freed animals were being transported outside the state but the activists alleged that these were being taken to slaughterhouses.
The Satbarwa police was also informed about the alleged seizure of the cattle.
The situation, however, took an ugly turn when activists allegedly owing allegiance to Bajrang Dal rushed to spot from Daltonganj and thrashed the cattle herders.
In another twist, a group of nearly 40-50 Muslims youths snatched the ‘freed’ animals from the Hindu group’s possession when they were herded to Satbarwa police station four hours later and ran away with them.
Irate over the “audacity”, the Hindu villagers blocked the movement of vehicles on the national highway 75 for more than 30 minutes besides trying to set on fire a bike.
The blockade was lifted after police assured action.
The Palamu superintendent of police Mayur Patel said, “The situation was totally under control. The locals had seized cattle being transported outside and had informed the police.”
The SP, however, denied that the cattle herders were thrashed by the mob. “We have not received any complained in this regard.”