Three arrested for Jalpaiguri lynchings, police rule out cow vigilantism
Three villagers were arrested on Monday for allegedly lynching two men on suspicion of cattle smuggling a day earlier in north Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, police said.
The killings were not linked to cow vigilantism, police said, who were yet to ascertain if the two victims, both Muslims, were cattle smugglers or traders.
Hafizul Sheikh, a resident of Dhubri in Assam, and Anwar Hussain, a resident of Cooch Behar in Bengal, were travelling in a van with seven cows when they were attacked by a group of villagers in Dadon early on Sunday.
Jalpaiguri shares the border with Bangladesh and cattle-smuggling across the porous frontier is rampant in several districts on the Indian side. Cattle thefts, too, are common as the animals can be easily sold across the border.
The suspects, including a Muslin youth, were picked up from Barohalia village, police said.
The men who were killed on Sunday wanted to avoid a police check post and lost their way while taking a detour, locals said. They were looking for a way out when a group of villagers stopped them. Sheikh and Hussain were killed but the van driver, who was injured, managed to flee.
This is the second time in three months that someone has been killed on suspicion of cow theft in Bengal. Three Muslim men were beaten to death in June in North Dinajpur district when they were allegedly trying to steal a cow.
There has been a rise in incidents of violence in the name of cow protection across the country, as BJP-ruled states draw up stringent rules and punishments for cattle and beef smuggling. Critics accuse the BJP of encouraging the lynch mobs.
No immediate measures have been initiated by the authorities to check the stinking brackish blushing water flowing from the Harike barrage near here into Rajasthan and Ferozepur feeder canals even after over a decade of the polluted water making its way to agricultural fields and homes, resulting in crop losses and health problems among residents of Punjab and adjoining Rajasthan that receive the water supplied by it.
A truck driver was allegedly beaten to death by three youths on Sunday after the victim, Inder Harpal Singh of Patiala's vehicle grazed their car in Faridkot city. SHO Sandeep Singh said that the investigation has found that the victim, Inder Harpal Singh of Patiala, was beaten to death by the accused after a small accident at 9:30 pm on Sunday when he was on his way to Faridkot city from Sangrur to deliver packages.
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Sunday asked Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann not to befool the farmers with announcements that their moong crop would be procured when the Centre has only agreed to buy 4,585 tonnes of the pulse, amounting to only 10-15% of the anticipated production. In a statement here, SAD kisan wing president Sikander Singh Maluka said Punjab was set to produce 4.75 lakh tonnes of moong.
Ferozepur Division manager Seema Sharma on Sunday conducted an inspection at the Ludhiana Railway Station. She also met a few railway union leaders and held a meeting with senior officials of the Ludhiana station. Senior divisional mechanical engineer and commercial manager Sudeep Singh also checked the operations at the station. Though senior officials termed it as a surprise visit, the Ludhiana railway staff, including the station director, were already aware of the checking.
Punjab Agricultural University experts have advised farmers, who are preparing to sow paddy using the DSR method, to put the sowing process on hold for few days to avoid crop damage due to the inclement weather predicted across the state during the period. The PAU issued the advisory following a warning from the meteorological department that strong winds followed by rain were expected across Punjab on May 23 and 24.