With locals tying up and thrashing a Muslim man for alleged cattle smuggling, the atmosphere in the Pakuria town of Howrah, in the non-BJP state of West Bengal, has been tense for the past day even though the locals handed over the man to the police. The mob also set on fire a Matador vehicle he had brought along apparently to carry away cows across the border.
The police have brought the situation under control and arrested six people for manhandling the Muslim man identified as Mohammed Izhar.
Last night, the residents of Pakuria near Dome saw some young men trying to drag a cow into the vehicle that is now charred. They raised an alarm and chased what looked like cattle smugglers.
Three from the gang escaped but Mohammed Izhar was caught. The villagers tied him up and beat him severely. Allegedly, the four had entered the area to steal cows.
"The locals saw some cattle smugglers carrying a bull in their vehicle,” a local was quoted as saying by the media. “People caught one of the suspects and handed him over to the police while the rest fled,” he said.
Residents say carrying away cattle in mini trucks and large vans is the general modus operandi of smugglers in the area.
Police reached the spot on receiving information about the commotion. The cops rescued the injured Muslim man from the agitated crowd and took him to the police station at night.
Investigators said the victim is being questioned. The police are looking for accomplices of the alleged cow smuggler.
Muslim suspects caught, killed in quick succession in recent past
Last week, a suspected animal smuggler was killed by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel near the India-Bangladesh border in northern Bengal. The incident had taken place at Phansidewa in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal in the early hours of Friday (14 October).
A BSF patrol had spotted some people in Murikhowa village who were trying to smuggle cattle into Bangladesh. According to the police, a pistol was recovered from the dead suspect.
BSF on the night of 10 October had gunned down a Bangladeshi national, who was believed to be a cattle smuggler, in Krishnaganj block of Nadia. A BSF jawan was injured after being attacked with a sharp weapon by the smuggler, Muntaz Hossain (32), a resident of Choto Baldia village under Damurhuda sub-district of Bangladesh. The jawans seized a buffalo from the spot.