Hisar, February 17
As the families of the two youths found charred to death in a vehicle near Barwas village of Bhiwani pointed fingers on ‘gau rakshaks’, a peek inside their network revealed that there’s a loosely knit ‘force’ of about 20,000 youths with affiliation to mainly three outfits — Bajrang Dal, Goputra Sena Haryana and Goraksha Dal – which are active as cow vigilantes across the state.
An interaction with a few activists revealed that unemployed youths were roped in by these outfits at the district level. No background check was done on these people at the time of induction into the organisation, sources added.
NOT PART OF OFFICIAL TASK FORCE
The govt had formed a Cow Task Force with the DSP as the nodal officer. These cow vigilantes act on their own. We don’t register or issue ID cards to activists. —Sarvan Garg, chief, Haryana gau seva ayog
VHP VOWS TO PROTECT ‘GAU RAKSHAKS’
We have sympathy for the victims. But, if any cow protector is arrested without evidence for political gains, we will hold panchayats. There should be a CBI probe. —Pawan Kumar, Chief, Haryana VHP
Talking to The Tribune, a cow vigilante group leader said he came in contact with a criminal who had ‘protected’ cows by shooting a bullet and deflating the tyre of a truck being used in their smuggling some time ago. “The criminal also shared his personal number with me and assured help in the protection of cows,” he added.
Rashtriya Sangathan Mahamantri of Goputra Sena Haryana Sunil Krantikari said they issued ID cards to their activists. “We have a specific task of protecting cows. We also keep a watch on cow smuggling incidents.”
Giving a tentative figure, he said there were no less than 20,000 activists in the three organisations in Haryana.
Krantikari admitted that sometimes there were people who got themselves enrolled for the sake of procuring the ID cards just to cross the toll plazas without paying tax or to get the arms licence. “But we strike off the names of such persons,” he said, adding that they work in tandem with the Cow Task Force constituted by the Haryana Police.
Sanjay Parmar, a cow vigilante in Bhiwani, said one of the two persons who were found burnt was a prominent cattle smuggler. “As per my information, ‘gau rakshak’ Monu Manesar was not involved in the crime. Though it seemed an apparent case of murder, it is suspected that some unknown persons had committed the crime,” he added.
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