New Delhi: A 33-year-old man, claiming to be a member of an animal rights group, was arrested today for allegedly assaulting three persons who were transporting buffaloes in a truck in Kalkaji area last week, police said.
This is the second arrest in this case. On April 24, a 32-year-old man was arrested.
Three men transporting buffaloes in a truck were allegedly beaten up by vigilantes near Kalkaji metro station in south Delhi late last Saturday night. Senior journalist Hartosh Singh Bal, who witnessed the incident, said he even spoke to the alleged perpetrators of the crime who were all “sporting saffron tilaks” and admitted to beating up the men, who were all Muslims.
Police said that Gaurav Gupta, a resident of Ghaziabad, UP, who claims to be a member of People for Animals (PFA), came to the Kalkaji police station today where he was arrested, a senior police officer said. He was later given bail.
He has submitted two ID cards – one from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and one from PFA. The PFA identity card has the residential address of Union minister Maneka Gandhi, while the AWBI card mentions his designation as ‘honorary animal welfare officer’. The authenticity of both ID cards is being verified. The PFA, however, has denied any association with the accused.
The three men who were assaulted – Rizwan, Ashu and Kamil – were arrested last week and later released on bail. Following the incident, two FIRs were filed – one against the three men for inhumane transportation of the cattle and another against those who assaulted them.
The trio was booked for mischief by killing or maiming cattle and under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as they were carrying a greater number of animals in the truck than permitted. The men had transit papers for transporting the animals.
The second case of voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful restraint was registered against unidentified members of the PFA, according to police officers. Police are verifying whether the assailants had any link with the animal rights body.
Gupta had made the police control room call after he and his accomplices had intercepted the truck and allegedly assaulted the driver.
The Kalkaji incident is the latest in a spate of attacks by gau raksha vigilante groups against cattle traders and transporters. Last week, on April 21, five people, including a nine-year-old girl, were attacked by gau rakshaks in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. The family, like several others in the region, are nomadic herders and were moving along with their 16 cows and herds of goats, sheep and dogs when they were intercepted by a crowd of gau rakshaks. The attack left some family members hospitalised with broken bones and to make matters worse, the attackers took away the family’s animals – not just the cows, but also their sheep, goats and dogs.
(With PTI inputs)