New Delhi: The beating up of at least one of three men inside a truck in Bihar’s Bhojpur district on August 3 was a planned move by BJP and Bajrang Dal workers to “produce proof” so the police could take action against illegal meat traders, according to a report by the Indian Express.
The police has arrested four people who are allegedly linked to the business, including the owner of an illegal slaughterhouse and those in the truck – Sarfuddin Khan and Ajmulllah Khan from Bikramganj, and Gulam Khan of Hariharganj in Rohtas district.
BJP state executive committee member Bhuwar Ojha described Rani Sagar and Bagahi, which are the only Muslim dominated areas in the Shapur assembly segment, as the “problem areas,” and that the state’s top BJP leaders had told him to ensure that “no untoward incident takes place”.
He told the Indian Express, “We had been telling police for some time about an illegal slaughterhouse in the Rani Sagar area of Shapur but they would not listen to us. Now that the BJP is part of the state government, our morale has been boosted.” He also said that they were not going to hold protests because they should not be protesting against their “own government now”.
Residents of the area as well as the police told the Indian Express that local BJP leaders Chandan Pandey, Ankit Pandey, Rakesh Tiwary and Pankaj Tiwari, and Bajrang Dal activists Nishu Rao, Krishna Kant Singh and Dhoni were among the people who stopped the truck on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, news that the truck, which was bound for West Bengal, was about to cross Rani Sagar was first posted on a WhatsApp group run by Pandey, the BJP’s Shahpur town’s general secretary, according to sources. By 2 am, 15 BJP and Bajrang Dal workers had reached the petrol pump in town to stop the truck, reported the Indian Express.
Sources from the police told the Indian Express that around 5:15 am on Thursday, the truck was near the petrol pump when the group tried to stop it. The truck’s driver tried to escape but had to stop because of a tractor that was in its way.
Bipin Kumar, who is the in-charge of the local police station, and is also a member of the WhatsApp group, was suspended yesterday for “dereliction of duty”.
Pandey denied that the group had beat the three men in the truck when he spoken to the Indian Express and showed a video on his phone of the driver saying that he was transporting “10-12 tonnes of beef”. He said, “It is an allegation that we beat them. The three arrested persons also did not make any complaint to the police. Our job was to catch them red handed and produce proof to police of what we had been saying all along.”
Meat from the truck has been sent for laboratory tests. Cow and buffalo slaughter is banned in the state, according to the Bihar Preservation and Improvement of Animals Act, 1955.