25/04/2017 10:08 AM IST | Updated 25/04/2017 10:19 AM IST

Man Claiming To Be Haryana Chief Of Maneka Gandhi's 'People For Animals' Says He Trained 'Accused' Who Assaulted Muslims In Delhi

Maneka Gandhi is still silent.

Cathal McNaughton / Reuters
Digvijay Nath Tiwari, the commander of a Hindu nationalist vigilante group established to protect cows, is pictured with animals he claimed to have saved from slaughter, in Agra.

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 on Saturday night in the heart of the capital city.

The office of Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, who chairs the group, said that the animal rights group had no role in the assault. In a statement, they claimed that the 10,000-member strong group has no Delhi unit.

So it was understood that those who were involved in the incident acted in their individual capacity.

However, Naresh Kadyan, chairman of PFA's Haryana unit has said that the suspects in Saturday's attack on three men transporting buffaloes in Delhi were trained by him.

Kadyan told Indian Express that he had been conducting such "training" since 2005. He said that Maneka Gandhi had asked him to conduct these trainings.

But Kadyan said that this wasn't the training he had given.

NDTV Journalist Recalls Night Of Horror When Alleged Animal Rights Activists Brutally Assaulted Three Muslims In Delhi

"Brothers Gaurav Gupta and Saurabh Gupta (accused in Saturday's attack) were part of the exercise... I don't know what kind of work these people now do under the umbrella of People for Animals... this is not the training I gave them," he said.

PFA's Facebook page describes them as, "India's largest animal welfare organization with a nationwide network of 26 hospitals, 165 units and 2.5 Lakh members.We work to rescue and rehabilitate sick and needy animals."

The FIRs registered in connection with Saturday's incident, and the PFA's website, have listed the organisation's address as 14, Ashoka Road, New Delhi, 110001. Incidentally, it is the official residence of Maneka Gandhi.

Ravi Dubey, founder and president of PFA, Faridabad told Indian Express that the accused are part of the 'raid team' of the Delhi chapter. Apparently, besides rescuing animals, "raids" have been a part of the organisation's functioning, especially in Delhi.

"They (The accused) have been conducting raids along with volunteers for 10-12 years now and have been part of some major rescue operations," Dubey said. He said that they have the support from the top.

The website of PFA has gone offline without citing any particular reason.

Meanwhile, Maneka Gandhi, who is otherwise quite active on Twitter, hasn't said anything on the incident.

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