The Punjab Police have stepped up vigil in Pathankot, especially in Bamyal sector that has a large number of Gujjars (shepherd community) living in makeshift settlements, to check smuggling of bovines, allegedly for slaughter in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Gujjar community, which has a large number of people settled along the Punjab and J&K state border, have been found responsible for this illegal trade. They allegedly sell the bovines to butchers for slaughter.
To check the smuggling, the Pathankot police have increased checking of vehicles that are suspected to be carrying bovines.
Recently, the police had arrested a Jat Sikh, Sukhdev of Mehta village in Amritsar district, who had started this illegal trade with one Sattu of Udhampur. Sukhdev was carrying seven bovines in a vehicle. Cops said he used to transport cows to be handed over to shepherds across the state border.
With police intensifying checking, the smugglers are finding different ways to carry on with their trade. Sources said they have started taking these bovines one by one through the Ravi, pretending to be owners of the livestock.
“We have come to know about this new route. We are trying
to plug all gaps to stop interstate bovine smuggling,” said senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rakesh Kaushal.
The SSP said as there was no checking on the J&K side of the border, the Punjab Police are leaving no stone unturned to stop this practice.
Kaushal said police have been seeking help of locals to catch those helping shepherds from across the state border. “As the smugglers are more active at night, we have stationed officers of the superintendent of police (SP) level to curb the crime,” said the SSP.