On Saturday night, a mob claiming to be members of an animal protection group, People for Animals, thrashed three men transporting buffaloes in a truck under allegedly cruel conditions. The incident happened in the heart of the capital city.
The men from the apparent 'animal protection group' beat up the three cattle traders near Kalkaji temple in south Delhi, leaving them bleeding from their noses and foreheads.
The men alleged that the cattle traders were taking the animals to be slaughtered. Incidentally, the act is not illegal. However, the police registered cases against the three men who were beaten up. They were identified as Rizwan (25), Ashu (28) and Kamil (25). While the victims were charged under Indian Penal Code provisions for killing and maiming cattle and sections of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the police had not been able to arrest any of the attackers.
They victims were granted bail by Sunday evening.
NDTV journalist Radhika Bordia was a witness to the incident. In a blog for NDTV, she recalls the night of horror. "Men were trying to take cows and buffaloes for slaughter and have thankfully been stopped," she was told by a man when she tried to find out why there was a huge crowd.
"I pushed through the crowd to see three men in their thirties - one perhaps older, slumped by the side of the road. All three were bleeding from the nose and forehead. One had been beaten so badly, he could barely sit up. A policeman was prodding the three asking them, "Where are you from, what were you doing?" The men could barely respond," Bordia writes.
Even as they were being beaten up mercilessly, the only voice of protest came from two women shouting, "aur mat maaro."
The three men in the truck were travelling from their village of Pataudi Haryana's Gurgaon district to Ghazipur mandi in East Delhi.
One of the attackers told Bordia that they have followed the men from Haryana.
While questioning the victims, the police were showing no interest in trying to find out who was responsible for the attack.
— Radhika Bordia (@radhikabordia) April 23, 2017
Another attacker told the NDTV journalist that they are from 'PFA'. He said it's Maneka Gandhi's group.He alleged that the men were cruel to the animals inside the truck, which is why they were there.
The three victims were then taken to the AIIMS Trauma Centre for treatment.
While Ved Prakash, Station House Officer (SHO) at the Kalkaji police station told the Quint that the injuries were minor, Bordia, a witness, had a different story to tell.
When Quint spoke to the victims, they said they had been severely beaten up by around 15 men.
Cattle trader Ashu to @TheQuint :"There were 10 to 15 men who stopped our truck. They started beating us up. We only had buffaloes, no cows"
— Meghnad Bose (@MeghnadBose93) April 23, 2017
Meanwhile, DCP (southeast) Romil Baaniya said a case was registered due to the cruel manner in which the cattle was being transported.
"There were no illegalities in the dealings nor were they carrying any banned items. We registered a case on the basis of a complaint and took appropriate legal action immediately . They were bailed out on Sunday night," Baaniya told Times Of India.
However, Bordia writes that nothing she saw that night had to do with animals or of any cruelty against them.
"What I saw were blood-thirsty men who have now brought the familiar pattern of frightening cow-vigilantism into the heart of Delhi and a police whose only actions were directed at the victims who have now been arrested," she writes.
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