While hearing bail application of a man accused of cattle slaughter in Nuh (part of Mewat region), the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2018 made sharp observations on the nature of the crime:
“…the offences are being committed by hardcore smugglers, fully trained and that too in a well planned manner on large scale in an organised way. The affidavit [by Haryana police chief] also reveals that whenever the police tried to apprehend the accused or make efforts for intercepting or stopping the vehicles carrying smuggled cows for slaughtering, then accused persons attacked them not only with stones, but there are instances of using illegal firearms/weapons and such incidents are frequent in District Nuh.”
Though the remarks were made specifically for Mewat, the beef mafia elsewhere in the country works no differently.
Earlier this week, armed cattle thieves struck a house in adjoining Uttar Pradesh and killed the resident for resisting theft.
The deceased, Usveer Yadav, was 21.
Usveer’s cousin Govind told this correspondent over the phone that the incident happened on the intervening night of 16 and 17 November.
“I was sleeping on a cot near Usveer. Around 12am, we heard our neighbour Jagdish raise an alam that thieves were taking away our buffalo. Both of us rushed out.”
“The thieves pumped a bullet in Usveer’s head. We managed to put him in a vehicle and rushed for the hospital, but he died on the way,” said Govind, who is the same age as Usveer.
Usveer was the eldest of six siblings. An elder sister is married, while two younger brothers and sisters each are studying in school or working at home. Govind said that Usveer had been living for more than a year in New Delhi, where he lived on rent and worked.
“He would regularly send money home. He was the primary earning member of the house as his father – my tauji – is quite old,” said Govind.
“He had children very late in his marriage,” he added.
Usveer had come to his house in Nagla Dungar village in Kasganj district near Agra to attend an annual mela that is organised every November. “He would come to his house only twice or thrice in a year,” said Govind.
Govind declined the request to hand over the phone to Usveer’s father, saying the tragedy had been too hard on him to bear. “Tauji is not okay,” said Govind.
The area where the crime took place falls under the jurisdiction of Kasganj’s Sikandarpur Vaishya police station.
On 17 November, the official Twitter account of Kasganj police put out a note about the murder, saying four teams had been forced to catch the culprits.
Three days later, on 20 November, the account posted that the Kasganj police had caught a gang of buffalo thieves that shot people dead. An accompanying video statement by Kasganj Superintendent of Police Rohan Botre said that two members of the gang had confessed their role in the killing of Usveer.
The post said the police had recovered two pistols from the gang, besides some cartridges and two buffaloes.
Hindi newspapers reported that the two men had been identified as Saddam and Jumman.
Govind said that the police told the family that the thieves sell cattle to slaughterhouses for meat. writing about killings by armed beef mafia for a while. Ironically, the national English media maintains stoic silence on crimes by beef mafia as this dark trade heavily employs Muslim men.
Read more reports on the subject below:
Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.
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