Cops, scribes injured as cow vigilantes trigger tension in Jharkhand’s Giridih
Tension simmered after cow vigilantes found three bovine-laden trucks on way to Bengal from Bihar via Bengabad-Madhupur. The protests by the Gau Rakshaks against alleged cow smuggling took a violent turn.Updated: Jul 19, 2017 18:06 IST
A day after self-styled Gau Rakshaks (cow vigilantes) triggered tension in Jharkhand’s Giridih district which left over a dozen persons and seven cops injured, the sensitive areas remained under police surveillance on Monday, with only a few shopkeepers daring to up the shutters.
Tension simmered in the town a few hours after cow vigilantes found three bovine-laden trucks on way to Bengal from Bihar via Bengabad-Madhupur on Saturday. The protests by the Gau Rakshaks against alleged cow smuggling took a violent turn on Sunday morning, police said.
“It was a clear case of vigilantism and hooliganism. Prime facie shows no evidence of cattle smuggling,” said Giridih superintendent of police AB Varrer on Monday, adding that the trucks were loaded with milch cows.
“The vigilantes tried to give it a different colour and trigger tension,” he said.
On Sunday, Giridih deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Manish Toppo and six other police personnel were injured in stone pelting by a mob in the Bengabad main market connecting Bengabad-Madhupur road in Giridih district, around 120 km from capital Ranchi.
Following the incident, the market remained closed throughout the day and vehicular movement was disrupted on the Bengabad-Madhupur road for about six hours.
Two journalists, who were on the spot to cover the incident, too sustained injuries while a photojournalist’s camera was destroyed by the mob.
The locals went on a rampage after getting the news that some of the animals in the truck had died.
The mob also burnt tyres on the road to protest recovery of the animals.
A police team led by Toppo and sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Namita Kumari reached the spot to pacify the mob and lift the road blockade.
However, the locals were not in a mood to relent and misbehaved with the two officers.
The request by police to take the animals to a local ‘goshala’ (cow shelter) for feeding them was also denied by the protesters. Instead, they started pelting stones at the police officers leading to injuries to the DSP and others.
The mob also damaged the trucks on which the animals were loaded when police tried to remove them to clear the road. The mob later damaged the vehicle of Gandey legislator Jai Prakash Verma, who had arrived on the spot to pacify the mob.
Eyewitnesses claimed police fired in the air to scare the mob. However, the DSP denied that police opened fire.