Investigators are zeroing on the role of the police personnel in an incident where a group of alleged cow vigilante shot dead a migrant worker in Indri subdivision in the wee hours of Wednesday.
Inspector general of police, Karnal, Hanif Qureshi told HT on Thursday that a police party was present at the naka near Bhanukheri village in Karnal district looking for bovine smugglers and probably they opened fire without verifying details of those travelling in the canter.
He said that at least two rounds of firearm were shot in the crime and the samples had been sent for forensic examination to confirm weapons used in the incident.
25-year-old Khush Noor, a native of Ballamajra village in Saharanpur was shot dead. Another man, Ehsaan, suffered a minor injury and after being administered first aid, was discharged from hospital.
“A group of gau raksha volunteers had duly informed the police about possible movement of cow smugglers in the area on Tuesday late night. A police party was working with them and it has not been ruled out yet if our own men opened fire at the innocent persons killing one man. We are very closely monitoring those who were on duty and the volunteers on the spot,” he said.
IG said that it was a normal practice in the area sharing border with Uttar Pradesh where villagers or the cow protection volunteers informed police about the illegal cattle smuggling.
“Following their own networks or suspicions, cow protection volunteers work in coordination with the police authorities to nab cattle smugglers. Most of the times, these operations are undertaken by the police and these volunteers only remain present on the spot. However, on a few occasions the volunteers scuffle with alleged smugglers when police is not present on the spot. But no serious law and order is ever reported in Karnal range due to the volunteers,” he said.
According to Qureshi, those present at the naka failed to work in accordance and killed an innocent in an ‘unfortunate case of mistaken identity’.
“A case of murder and attempt to murder has been registered against the culprits. Our teams are close to final conclusions and even if a police employee or volunteer is found involved in the crime, strict legal action will be initiated,” he said.
According to the IG, a group of nearly 40 migrant workers were heading Uttar Pradesh from Nawanshahar in Punjab to cast votes in the ongoing panchayat polls at their native places.
He said, no firearm was used by the migrant workers and there was nothing to suggest that they were indulged in any suspicious activity.
“It was dense fog and probably the volunteers or police grew suspicious on finding several persons travelling in a commercial vehicle at night. Migrants said that the attackers did not try to verify their identities and opened fire. It is very serious matter and guilty would be punished in accordance of law,” he said.
Smuggling of bovines to slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan is rampant and animals are routed through different districts of Haryana. The Khattar-led BJP government had recently introduced the Haryana Gauvansh and Gausamvardhan Act that bans cow slaughter and prohibits transportation of cows for sale to other states. On November 29, the Kurukshetra police had registered the first case under the Act after it shot dead alleged cow smuggler Abid of Yamunanagar, who was involved in several crime cases.