Residents of Kanawani village in Indirapuram here have decided to abstain from voting in the UP assembly elections. The villagers, in a panchayat on Thursday, took a vow this after the People for Animals (PFA) allegedly refused to return three buffaloes of a resident.
The buffaloes, who went missing in December last year, were found straying near the Hindon river, said SSP Raghubir Lal. He said the police had handed them over to PFA activists.
Earlier, the animals, belonging to one Hans Raj of Kanawani, were kept in a PFA-run hospital in Raj Nagar Extension. A missing complaint was lodged on January 9.
“We approached the PFA, but the activists demanded a donation of R50,000 to release the animals. An FIR was lodged against three of our men who had gone to the hospital to take the buffaloes,” said Chatar Singh, who participated in the panchayat.
Meanwhile, PFA activists said no donation had been demanded from the villagers and the latter must produce a court release order to get back the cattle.
“The buffaloes were sick. Villagers our vandalised our hospital, so we got an FIR lodged against them. They are using pressure to get back the cattle,” said Sumedha Iyer, district president, PFA (I), Ghaziabad. The animals have now been sent to Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre in Delhi.
Village head, Jagwati Devi’s son Narender Kasana said the villagers would abstain from voting in the state elections if the animals were not returned to Raj. They would also ask the neighbouring villages for help, he added. Kanawani has around 3,000 voters.