Three men were injured on Saturday night after a group of people, including animal right activists, beat them up in south Delhi’s Kalkaji for transporting buffaloes in a cruel manner, police said.
The three were admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre from where they were discharged after medical attention early Sunday.
“It was not a matter of illegal transportation of cattle but carrying them in a cruel and inhuman manner,” deputy commissioner of police (southeast) Romil Baaniya said on Sunday.
Two FIRs were registered. One against the three men for cruelty towards animals and the other, for the assault against them.
Fourteen buffaloes being taken to Ghazipur, Delhi’s only slaughterhouse and biggest wholesale meat market, were rescued and the vehicle seized, Baaniya said.
He identified the injured as Rizwan, Kamil, residents of Pataudi in Haryana, and Ashu from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. At around 11.45pm the police control room received a call from Gaurav Gupta, an animal activist and an office-bearer of People for Animals.
A patrol van with emergency response vehicle reached Kalkaji and found a tempo loaded with buffaloes parked on the roadside, the DCP said.
Five to six PFA activists were there and had beaten up the three occupants of the tempo. Personnel from the Kalkaji police station, too, reached the spot and cleared the traffic that was blocked due to the commotion, he said.
“The injured were shifted to the hospital. They suffered simple injuries on face and lips,” the DCP said, adding the PFA members left without filing a complaint.
PFA’s Gupta denied that assault charge. The three men were beaten up by people who were enraged on seeing the animals being treated cruelly, he told HT.
An animal right activist, Vandana Sharma, called them up and said she was following a mini-truck loaded with buffaloes and cows. They made several PCR calls and requested the police to send teams and intercept the vehicle, Gupta said.
Sharma with the help of some locals intercepted the truck in Kalkaji. He and his colleagues reached the spot later.
Three men, who were butchers, fled while the driver and two other occupants were overpowered and beaten up by the people and not them, he said.
Gupta said their team had rescued several animals during another raid in south Delhi early on Sunday.
Lately, incidents of self-appointed cow protectors attacking and even killing people on suspicion of smuggling the cattle have been reported from several parts of India. The Opposition has accused the ruling BJP of encouraging the violence largely targeted at Muslims and Dalits.
Cow slaughter and smuggling is banned in most parts of the country but there are no curbs on buffalo meat, which is eaten widely as it is a cheap source of protein.
Rising cow vigilantism, however, is causing problem as buffalo meat – which goes by different names globally — is also referred to as beef, a reason enough for the so-called cow protectors to assault people or even force shut down of eateries.