As videos emerge of ‘cow vigilantes’ using excess force, Nuh villages on edge, police register FIR

Days after a video titled ‘Taking away the cow smuggler’ went viral on social media, wherein purported ‘gau rakshaks’ are seen forcing a man into an SUV at gunpoint, police have ascertained it is from Haryana’s Nuh district. After the first such video emerged on Sunday, two more followed — one showing a gun being pointed at people from a moving vehicle, titled ‘Gau Raksha Dal, Haryana, Mewat raid’, and another showing armed men taking away a man and threatening to shoot at villagers.

SP Nuh Varun Singla said that they had taken cognizance of the videos. “Earlier these had no source; we were not sure when or where they were from. But after an enquiry, we have ascertained that they are from Ferozepur Jhirka jurisdiction.”

SHO, Ferozepur Jhirka, Arvind Kumar said on Thursday: “We have registered an FIR in the matter.”

Officials said that a Special Investigation Team will also be formed to probe the incidents. “Such raids by individuals are banned. Initially, they were police informers who were just keeping a tab on people engaged in cow slaughter. Now, they have started misusing their role and tried to take the law into their own hands. However, no incident of assault happened in the presence of police even in the current cases. It appears the incidents shown in the video clips took place before the arrival of the police at the spots concerned,” said an official.

On Wednesday, an FIR was filed based on the complaint of ASI Ravikant against “three-four unidentified persons” following an enquiry into the videos. It states that some videos had gone viral on social media and it has been alleged on social media that members of Gau Raksha Dal are associated with the incident.

The FIR adds: “In the video from village Sheikhpur, some young men are seen assaulting a man and putting him in a Scorpio at gunpoint. Two-three men are seen holding sticks while one man seems to be firing a gunshot in the air with a pistol.”

The FIR adds that in another video from Rawli village, some young men are seen taking a man away, and in the video from Basai Meo village, two young men are seen beating up an old man in a car. Police said the accused are yet to be identified.

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At the village

When The Indian Express visited Sheikhpur village on Wednesday, locals and several eyewitnesses said that on the morning of April 23, a group of 15-20 men claiming to be cow vigilantes, brandishing country-made guns, double barrel rifles and sticks, arrived in a Scorpio and three Boleros.

Basiri (62) said she was seated on a wooden charpai outside her house when the Scorpio pulled up. “Around 6.30 am, most villagers were asleep after offering namaz. Suddenly there was commotion and several armed men alighted from the car and started hurling abuses. They banged on a gate across the lane and fired two gunshots in the air,” said Basiri.

She claimed that when a woman objected, they pointed a gun at her: “I got scared. This has never happened here. Ye toh gunda raj hai (this is gunda raj).”

Aarif Hussain, the village lambardar, said that the man in the video being dragged into the SUV is Sahib Hussain (32).

“The group claimed to be cow vigilantes from Bajrang Dal… Three cars had no registration number. These goons waved guns, fired twice in the air, and misbehaved with women before abducting Sahib. They later handed him over to the police,” he alleged.

The same evening, Nuh Police arrested Sahib for alleged cow smuggling and booked him under sections 13 (1) and 13 (3) of The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015. Police said he was arrested by their staff during a raid in the village.

An FIR, filed at Ferozepur Jhirka police station at 5.38 pm on Saturday (April 23) based on the complaint of head constable Jagat Singh from… staff of Ferozepur Jhirka, states that a raid was conducted by a police party alongside an informer, and alleges that Sahib was caught while “slaughtering a cow with the intention of selling cow meat” on an empty plot.

Sahib’s family, however, claimed he had been falsely implicated. His father Hoshiar Hussain said Sahib farms for a living: “Police are claiming they have evidence. No policeman came to the village for the arrest.”

The family has also filed a complaint at Ferozepur Jhirka police station action against the people in the demanding video.

Nuh MLA Aftab Ahmed also called for a thorough probe: “The videos… were brought to my notice. These anti-social elements are pointing weapons at members of the minority community and attacking people. I have spoken to the ADGP CID and told officials to take strict legal action against the culprits.”

Singla, the Nuh SP, said that a meeting was held with locals and community leaders on Tuesday to stress that such incidents can affect communal harmony. “The message has been conveyed that strict action will be taken against people who take law into their hands,” Singla said. Sources said Bajrang Dal members were part of the meeting as well.

Meanwhile, members of Bajrang Dal Gurgaon and Vishwa Hindu Parishad Gurgaon gave a memorandum to the Gurgaon DC and protested outside the office of the Gurgaon Police Commissioner on Thursday afternoon, alleging that people engaged in cow protection had been receiving threats from Nuh.

Devender Singh, zila mantri, Manesar, VHP, said, “The claims are false. When the matter of cow slaughter came to light, some workers and a police team went there and caught the people involved. Everything was done as per law. Our members were assisting the police and the administration under the law which has been made for cow protection.”

Asked if people seen in the video are from his team, Mohit, a member of the cow protection task force Haryana and Bajrang Dal, Manesar, said, “Only a part of the video is being shown… Police personnel were also at the spot. We helped police catch the person… Members of our outfit and gau rakshaks have been getting threats. We are unfazed by all this and will continue to work with the police to protect cows.”

(Inputs from Sukhbir Siwach)

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