Rajasthan’s Alwar district which had made it to the headlines of almost all media houses after the hyped Pehlu Khan incident continues to remain a smugglers’ den as scores of incidents of cow theft are routinely reported from the district. The border districts of Alwar and Bharatpur together account for a third of all cattle smuggling cases recorded in Rajasthan.
According to past reports, an alleged nexus between smugglers and some corrupt officials in police have helped the illegal trade flourish in the state.
Yesterday, in yet another case, Rajasthan police have rescued 14 cows after an encounter took place between the Rajasthan police and cow smugglers in Shahjahanpur area of Alwar.
The encounter happened late on September 29 (Sunday) night when one of the two vehicles, in which the cow smugglers were travelling, hit Quick Response Team (QRT) vehicle of the Rajasthan police. The cow smugglers were being chased by the police for more than 25 km as they tried to flee from the scene. The encounter ensued as the cow smugglers fired at the police which then retaliated by firing shots back at them. More than 30 rounds of firing took place from both sides.
Another vehicle in which the cow smugglers were travelling had entered a home in Gaduvaas village of Shajahanpur area. The cow smugglers fled from the scene abandoning the vehicles they were travelling in.
According to information, there were eight cows in one pick up vehicle and six in the other one. So, the police managed to recover a total of 14 cows from both the vehicles.
Prior to this, Police had recovered 7 bovines from the vehicle of one Munafed Khan, who was also involved in many incidents of cow smuggling in the past. The incident pertains to September 22 evening when Munafed was trying hard to escape police barrier but instead was caught up by the alert villagers who confronted him and started thrashing him believing that he was smuggling cows. The police intervened and stop the people from beating him up. The incident had happened in the same Shahjahanpur area.
July 31, 2019: In Rajasthan’s Alwar, cattle smugglers had opened fired bullets and injured villagers. Salim Khan, who fired at the locals was later caught by the villagers and was handed over to police.
June 21, 2019: Cattle smugglers had attacked Gaushala in Bharatpur, fled with three cows after thrashing the Mahant.
December 2018: In the Tijara area of Alwar district, police had raided a house in the Arandka village and had recovered the flesh and skin of the cows. The police found 4-5 suspects in the nearby field sprinting away. When police went there they found about 20-22 kgs of beef lying down and cowhide of 5-6 cows from the well in the nearby field.
These are only a few of the many incidents of cow smuggling which have been reported in the recent past. Along with Alwar, all its adjoining areas, like Bharatpur, Mewat, bordering area like Haryana’s Nuh district have been a hotbed of cow smuggling.
In Alwar, an average of seven cases were registered every month in 2017 under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995. Meanwhile, a report from August 2016, mentions that until July 2016, Alwar Police had detected 72 cases of cattle smuggling in Alwar and 40 in Bharatpur. The corresponding numbers for 2015 were 100 and 30 respectively.
This report from December 2017 highlights how lucrative the cattle smuggling business is. “The people who transport at least 5 to 6 cows from Alwar and Bharatpur to Nooh Mewat of Haryana can earn Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh per trip if they managed to deliver a lot of cows safely,” the report quotes a senior officer as saying. The Police claimed at that point of time that at least 500 people were in the business of cattle smuggling in the region.
The smuggled animals are often brutalised, stuffed inside small pick-ups and carried without food, water or space to breathe.