Police kill ‘cow smuggler’ in Alwar shootout
Alwar police say they set up barricades after a tip off but the smugglers opened fire and drove through one of them. Later at Janta Colony, there was shootout in which a smuggler was killedUpdated: Dec 07, 2017 23:51 IST
A suspected cow smuggler was killed by police in Rajasthan’s Alwar district in the early hours of Thursday, the latest incident to rock the state hit by intermittent violence over the campaign to protect bovines.
Police said the alleged smuggler, later identified as Taleem from Nuh district of Haryana, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with a police team while trying to flee with several stray cows in a pick-up truck.
Rahul Prakash, the Alwar superintendent of police, said they had set up barricades at several places after receiving information that a group of men was trying to smuggle cows. The men fired at police at two barricades before they were halted at a third barricade in Janta Colony where the exchange of gunfire took place.
Prakash said several of the men ran away after the truck in which they were travelling was forced to halt after a bullet blew one of its tyres. They left behind an injured man who later died. The truck was carrying five cows, one of which was dead.
Alwar police admitted to firing seven rounds at the truck early on Thursday but could not specify how many rounds were fired by the suspected smugglers.
Taleem’s uncle Mohammed Ilyas said his 24-year-old nephew was at home till around 8pm on Wednesday. “He left after that without telling us,” Ilyas told HT on phone.
Alwar has been the epicentre of violence triggered by cow vigilantism. In April, a Muslim trader Pehlu Khan transporting cattle to his farm was waylaid by vigilantes and assaulted. Khan died a few days later.
Last month, a group of men transporting cows was attacked in the district’s Govindgarh area, resulting in the death of one Umar Mohammed.
Cow protection features prominently in the agenda of the Rajasthan government with a cow welfare department headed by a minister. Alwar is also one of the two districts – Bharatpur being the other – where police patrol the streets regularly to combat cow smuggling.
The police said no documents pertaining to transportation of cattle were found from the truck or the victim. At the same time, the police added that no one had come forward to claim ownership of the cows being transported. The bovines have been sent to a local cow shelter.
Rajasthan DGP, OP Galhotra, said, “They (the alleged smugglers) used to collect cattle left in the open at night and this was going on for many days. Police was monitoring it and had increased patrolling to nab them.”
However, Ramzan Chaudhary, president of the All India Mewati Samaj, questioned the “encounter”. “Even if they were smuggling cows, there is a law to punish them. This justice meted out on the roads is wrong,” he said.
Taleem relatives, who arrived in Alwar during the day, returned to their village after the administration refused to hand over the body. The post mortem will take place on Friday. However, Taleem’s relatives said they will not return to take the body.