A ruling BJP lawmaker in Rajasthan has warned that people who “smuggle or slaughter” cows will be killed.
Ramgarh MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja made the statement while speaking on the arrest of an alleged cow smuggler in Alwar district on Saturday, according to The Indian Express.
The man, identified as Zakir, was also allegedly beaten up severely by a mob before he was arrested.
“Mera toh seedha seedha kehna hai ki gautaskari aur gaukashi karoge to yu hi maroge (I will only say that if you smuggle and slaughter cows, then you will be killed),” he told reporters.
Ahuja refuted allegations that Zakir was beaten by the mob. “As the public was following the truck, it overturned, resulting in the injuries… Now he is saying that villagers beat him up. I have taken details of the case from the SHO. The people didn’t beat him. He was injured because the vehicle overturned.”
Ahuja is known for his extremist views, according to NDTV online.
Last year, at the height of a stand-off between the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the government, he had said that 300 condoms and 200 liquor bottles were found each day on the campus of the prestigious university.
His latest comments have done nothing to calm the atmosphere of fear and hostility in Alwar following a series of cow vigilante attacks.
In April, Pehlu Khan was beaten to death by a mob of vigilantes on the Delhi-Jaipur highway for transporting cows. The police had named cow protection groups and the leader of a local Gaushala or cattle shed for the attack, but the accused were let off by the state Criminal Investigation Department.
In November, Ummar Khan was shot dead on the Alwar-Bharatpur border, again by alleged cow vigilantes. The police accused him of smuggling cattle. Three people were arrested and charged for murder.
This month, the police have had two encounters with alleged cow traffickers. One man was killed in a shootout with the police on December 7.
Alwar has recorded the highest number of cases filed under the Rajasthan Bovine Act for cow protection this year. The police have now been directed to set up “Gau Raksha Chowkis” or check posts to control cattle trafficking. Many fear it may only provoke more attacks; policemen here have been given rifles and quick response teams.