Haryana: Gurugram Forms Cow Protection Task Force To Curb Cow Vigilantism, Check Smuggling

The Gurugram cow protection task force will include government officials and nominated civilians to check both cattle smuggling and vigilantism.

On Guard

With dual objectives of curbing cattle smuggling and vigilantism, the Gurugram administration in Haryana has formed a cow protection task force, as per reports.

The Tribune reported that Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar chaired a meeting in which it was announced that the district administration is enforcing a complete ban on unauthorised actions such as raids and pursuit of alleged smugglers by vigilantes. 

The development comes a month after the alleged lynchings of two Muslim men from Ghatmika village in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district. Their charred bodies were found in Haryana's Bhiwani district along with their car. The families have alleged that they were killed by cow vigilantes of right wing Hindu organisation Bajrang Dal. Popular vigilante Monu Manesar is among the accused in the case. 

Inform police about smuggling, no vigilantism: Official

By forming the task force, the Gurugram administration has formalised anti-cattle smuggling activities and have attempted to push vigilantes out of the domain of checking smuggling. The Hindustan Times reported that the Haryana government ordered such action last week. There exists Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015 in the state to address cattle smuggling. 

The HT quoted DC Kumar as saying that if and when anyone receives information about alleged cattle smuggling, they would have to inform the nearest police station and the task force. He added that strict action will be taken against those found chasing smugglers on their own or creating a ruckus. 

"Anyone found carrying illegal weapons and chasing alleged smugglers will be arrested from the spot. Teams from police stations concerned will be deployed at key stretches to keep a check on the movement of vigilante groups, and to ensure they do not create ruckus or indulge in violence," HT quoted Kumar as saying.

Task force to have 11 members

The district-level cow protection panel will have 11 members including government and nominated civilians. 

Of the task force's composition, the HT reported that there will be six government officials, including the deputy commissioner as the chief, three people nominated by the state Gau Seva Ayog, and two gau sevaks nominated by the deputy commissioner.

The task force will be responsible for checking cattle smuggling and other cattle-related illegal activities.

"The task force will prevent illegal transportation and slaughtering of cow progeny, but also collect information about such activities, take legal action, rescue and rehabilitate stray cattle, and also provide assistance for arranging the land for cow shelters," reported The Tribune.

The Rajasthan lynchings case

The Gurugram administration's action comes around a month after alleged lynching of two Muslim men from Rajasthan in Haryana. 

Junaid and Nasir of Ghatmika village in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district were found charred to death in Haryana's Bhiwani district. The families allege cow vigilantes abducted and killed them. They accused five accused by name. All of them were members of Bajrang Dal. They are identified as Monu Manesar, Anil, Shrikant, Rinku Saini, and Lokesh Singla. Monu is a popular vigilante who is popular on social media and had in the past posted videos of chasing alleged smugglers and cooperating with the police.

Earlier, Monu has publicly claimed cooperating with Haryana Police, including in the Nuh district where collusion has now been alleged. In one tweet, Monu claims to have nabbed alleged cow smugglers with Ferozepur Jhirka police which is now under the scanner. 

"On 14.08.2022, Bajrang Dal, Manesar with Nuh Police's Firozepur Jhirka Police Station caught a Scorpio car and saved four cows and saved five cow smugglers from Mewat along with weapons," said Monu in a tweet from August 2022 in Hindi.

There are other posts too on Monu's Twitter account that claim joint activities with the police. In a tweet on January 15, 2022, Monu said in Hindi, "Bajrang Dal, Manesar today saved 15 cattle heads today with support of Nuh Police." 

In the case of Junaid and Nasir's alleged lynching, their families alleged that Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) team of Ferozepur-Jhirka police in Nuh district had “colluded” with Bajrang Dal activists in lynching the two victims and then setting their bodies ablaze inside the vehicle. 

Ismail, the brother of Junaid, had alleged that the victims were taken to a police station after being assaulted, but the police personnel in Nuh refused to take them into custody. 

(With PTI inputs)