A group of rightwing activists have come under scrutiny for allegedly threatening owners of a cow shelter in Nainital's Bhimtal town after a sick cow died there.
According to a Times of India report, the owners, Mohan Joshi and Kishan Singh, have lodged a complaint with the district administration alleging that the hardliners are demanding a "settlement amount" from them.
Joshi reportedly said, "Last week, we had rescued a cow from the forest but despite our best efforts, it passed away. Soon after, a group of people claiming to be members of the Hindu Mahasabha came to us and threatened [with] dire consequences if we did not pay a settlement amount for the dead cow."
Another villager, who works at the house, claimed that the group has threatened to "escalate the matter and tell everyone that we had killed the cow illegally".
However, the state Hindu Mahasabha chapter has denied the allegations. They, in turn, blamed the complainants for illegally running the shelter house and alleged that animals were being exploited there.
"We will not take this lying down but launch an agitation so that such unlawful activities get stopped immediately," Prashant Agarwal, a member of the organisation based in Haldwani, told TOI.
In the past few months, several cases of cow vigilantism have been reported from different parts of the country. According to IndiaSpend's latest database, so far this year 26 cases have already been registered under cow-related violence.
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