It was around midnight on Saturday, when two Muslim youths, Shamsuddin Chaudhary and Mubeen, spotted a cow lying injured and bleeding on a road in Malerkotla, Punjab. It was a chilly morning and it looked as if the cow had been left to die after a hit-and-run.
It was Christmas Day, when Shamsuddin and Mubeen started calling the local police and then the district administration for help, The Times of India reported today. "After watching the cow, which was apparently hit by some fast moving vehicle, I called up Mubeen. We together started calling up the police to rescue the animal," Shamsuddin told TOI.
The two men were finally able to contact Malerkotla SDM Showkat Ahmed Parray, an Indian Administrative Service officer from Jammu and Kashmir, who phoned the Police Control Room and deputed municipal council officials to save the animal. The injured animal was then taken to the cow shelter and treated by veterinarians.
Shamsuddin and Mubeen's efforts to rescue an injured animal is a break from the bullying unleashed by self-appointed "gau rakshaks" in the name of cow protection. The most horrific instance of such vigilantism was the lynching of a Muslim ironsmith in Uttar Pradesh after he was accused of slaughtering a calf. A Muslim couple was assaulted on a train in Madhya Pradesh after they objected to their luggage being searched for beef.
But animal rights activists as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was criticized for failing to rein in the illegal behavior of the vigilantes, have said that cow protection would actually entail looking after the thousands of cows injured in road accidents every day, and providing treatment to those that are sick from eating plastic and rubbish.
The two youths from Punjab ensured that no other vehicle hit the cow until help arrived, and then went with the animal to the cow shelter. "We returned home after we ensured the cow was safe," Mubeen told TOI.
Also on HuffPost India: