23/04/2017 9:41 AM IST | Updated 23/04/2017 4:15 PM IST

3 Suspected Of 'Cow Smuggling' Thrashed By Mob In Delhi's Kalkaji, Later Arrested

They were accused of cruelty to the buffaloes they were transporting.

Cathal McNaughton / Reuters

Three men were allegedly assaulted by a mob of 15-20 men around Saturday midnight in New Delhi's Kalkaji area. Their offence: transporting buffaloes in a mini-truck to the Gajipur Mandi, allegedly for slaughter.

According to reports, Rizwan, Ashu and Kamil, who are all from Pataudi, Haryana, were stopped on their way, pulled out of the vehicle, then beaten up by the crowd. The scuffle led to a traffic jam and brought the police to their rescue.

The Hindu said one Gaurav Gupta, describing himself as an 'animal rights activist' and a representative of an organisation called People For Animal (PFA), informed the police of the incident. In a video footage shot, by a reporter from Quint, one of the men appears to have a bleeding eye, while the other two had their clothes torn off, pushed into the pavement and thrashed. The police, who took the men to AIIMS for treatment, claimed their injuries were minor.

Although the police refused to call the miscreants 'cow vigilantes', the self-proclaimed protectors of the bovine species, the incident follows a series of alarming attacks on citizens in the country in recent times.

In Alwar, Rajasthan, a dairy farmer called Pehlu Khan was beaten to death by another group, who accused him of taking cows for slaughter. On Saturday, five people, including a nine-year-old girl, were also injured when cow vigilantes attacked a nomadic family in the Talwara area of Jammu & Kashmir, who were moving along with their livestock.

The 14 buffaloes retrieved from the truck in Delhi have been moved under the protection of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

UPDATE:NDTV adds that the three men, who were assaulted, were later arrested by the police for charges of cruelty against animals filed by the 'animal rights activists', who ambushed them. The latter also denied attacking the men. The police added that PFA has been working for the welfare of animals for a long time in the city and that its members were not 'gau rakshaks' (cow protectionists). However, the office of Union minister Maneka Gandhi, who is also the chair person of PFA, denied the organisation was involved.

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