Residents of Joga village and workers of social organisations in Mansa indulged in arson and set afire at least four bikes parked at the animal market that is only two km away from the bus stand on Thoothianwali road on Monday morning after they found some persons loading cows on a vehicle.
Interestingly, the mob indulged in arson on Monday despite a curfew in the district, and in the presence of police personnel. Police initially prevented damage to bikes by taking away the two-wheelers in a tractor-trolley but the mob burnt these near the bus stand in the presence of police.
Meanwhile, police raided Mansa's Bhenibagha village on Sunday evening and seized 88 bulls. Five persons were arrested on charge of hurting religious sentiments and cow slaughter Act.
A police officer Kawal Singh said, "During a raid on Sunday evening, we seized 88 bulls from Bhenibagha and arrested Rasheed Khan, Meharban Trafi, Rashad Khan, Mohammad Shareef, and Mauseen. All the accused are from Uttar Pradesh and were working here for a long time by taking land of Charanjit Singh on lease. Both Charanjit and his father Boota Singh are famous as 'jhota chors' (bull thieves)."
It is pertinent to recall that on Sunday, slaughter of 23 cows and bulls at a factory in Joga village had led to arson, in which irate villagers had burnt the factory and demolished houses of two factory owners in the village. Police twice resorted to a cane charge on the mob to control the situation.
Chief minister Prakash Singh Badal had suspended Mansa SSP Sukhdev Singh Chahal and Joga SHO Rajinder Pal Singh for dereliction in duty on Sunday.
Police sources said that six cases were registered under Prevention of Cruelty against Animals and other laws.
Meanwhile, Bathinda Brahmin Sabha president Surinder Pal Sharma and general secretary Charandass Vashisht claimed that factory owners were workers of SAD (B). "The state government in order to protect its own skin has suspended the Mansa SSP who had joined only recently.
"On the other hand, the slaughter business was going on for many long years under the nose of the administration and with the support of the state government. The Joga factory owners are workers of SAD (B) and used to run their business of killing animals with government's support."