On 28 August, a group of farmer protestors had clashed violently with the Haryana Police in Karnal. The police had lathi-charged on the marauding mob and used water cannons to disperse the crowd. Following the police action, a barrage of Congress leaders and Congress supporters had started complaining on social media about alleged police brutality.
Several social media handles, including general secretary Priyanka Vadra, Randeep Surjewala and Imran Pratapgarhi had used the picture of a man lying on a hospital bed with a deep head wound. Even the official main handle of the Congress Party had misused the image, with elaborate texts, to blame the Haryana Police for attacking ‘farmer protestors’.
The photo was widely shared by many social media handles, claiming that the person with the deep injury is a victim of police brutality against farmers.
However, Swarajya journalist Swati Goel Sharma has traced the person in the photo and found that his picture has been deviously used by Congress handles to falsely claim that he was a farmer protestor’ and a victim of brutality by Haryana Police.
Swati Sharma has spoken to Tinky Dayma, a resident of Gurugram who was the person in the photo. Dayma has stated that he has suffered deep anguish to learn that the photo of his injury has been used by Congress handles for their political propaganda.
Speaking to Swati, Dayma revealed, “I was deeply hurt when I saw the posts. I received them on my Gau Raksha Whatsapp group. How could they misuse my injuries for political gains?”
Tinku is not a ‘farmer protestor’ injured by Haryana Police. But he is a Gau Rakshak who had got that deep head injury while trying to stop a group of cattle smugglers near Gurugram.
Tinku Dayma is a Gau Rakshak, not ‘farmer protestor’ demanding repeal of new farm laws
Anguished over the misleading claims by Congress Party and its leaders, Tinku had lodged a complaint with the Gurugram Police, stating that his photo has been misused for political propaganda by certain political leaders.
In his email complaint to the cyber cell of Haryana Police, Tinku Dayma has stated that Congress leader Imran Pratapgarhi had maliciously used his pictures for his own political gain and had tried to malign the Haryana Police while making false claims.
Tinku’s complaint states that he had got a serious head injury while confronting cattle smugglers near the Rajesh Pilot Chowk Ullahwas village under Gurugram on 25 August. An FIR related to the incident has already been registered with the Haryana police on 26 August. He has expressed anguish over being falsely painted as a part of a violent mob that was protesting against the farm laws.
Tinku in his complaint has stated that the post shared by Pratapgarhi was shared by thousands of others and he has been hurt seeing the photo of his injury and personal suffering being used to propagate a vicious political agenda to malign the image of the Haryana government.
Tinku works to protect cows from cattle smugglers, with the help of Bajrang Dal
As per Swati’s report in Swarajya, Tinku’s group ‘Gau Raksha Dal’ comprises local volunteers who alert each other and work in a coordinated manner to track, and report cattle smugglers. They report the suspicious activities, like cattle being forcibly hurdled into cramped vans or mini-trucks, illegal dealings etc through a WhatsApp group of volunteers. The Gau Raksha Dal even follows and tries to stop cattle smugglers and help the local police to nab the criminals.
The volunteers in Tinku’s group also work to rehabilitate the cows by sending them to Gaushalas.
Tinku has stated that the Gau Rakshak’s primary goal is to save the cows from slaughter. “Catching the smugglers is always secondary because they manage to get bail and resume their activities soon anyway,” he added.
How Tinku got the injury
Tinku has stated to Swarajya that on around 3 am on the intervening night of 24 and 25 August, he had received a message on his phone that a minitruck carrying cows from Wazirabad is headed towards the Ullawas Dhani Road.
“I, along with several other boys, immediately reached there. We were in a camper van. The police were also chasing them at the same time. We spotted the thieves’ vehicle easily,” he explained to Swati.
“Only thieves ferry cows in the dead of the night”, he explained, stating that it is easy to spot the smugglers because no dairy farmer would harm his animals by piling them above each other in a cramped mini-truck. Also, the vehicles used by smugglers are always without number plates, the Gau Rakshak added.
Tinku added that cow smugglers often keep broken glass bottles in the van to attack any chasing Gau Rakshaks. On that night too the smugglers had thrown many glass bottles towards the direction of the camper van that Tinku and his fellow Gau Rakshaks were using. But when the Rakshaks continued the chase, the smugglers suddenly threw a cow on the road.
Not wanting to run over the animal, the camper van had suddenly taken a sharp turn, lost balance and turned turtle. Tinku had suffered a deep head injury in that accident and had lost consciousness.
Gau Raksha is Dharma
Tinku’s mother informed that Tinku was grievously injured and it is only due to the blessings of Gau Mata that he is alive. Tinku is a Gujjar and they live in a Gujjar village. His family are small farmers. The family believes that Gau Seva is their Dharma and even the villagers tell that what Tinku is doing is very good work.
Tinku’s family doesn’t understand how Gau Rakshaks are painted as notorious criminals in mainstream media. They believe that Gau Raksha is Dharma and the volunteers of the Gau Raksha Dal are loved and respected in the village.
“It happens only in your cities”, Tinku says when the journalist mentions that the mainstream media often portrays Gau Rakshaks as goons.
Gau Rakshaks work with the police
The Swarajya report also highlights how the Gau Rakshaks often work with the police. Tinku informed that the Gau Rakshak Dal never intervenes without informing the police and often the local police seek their help to stop cattle smugglers.
Tinku’s family informed that when the villagers learned of Tinku’s injury, many persons had visited him at the hospital and the elders even touched his feet, hailing his holy work of saving cows from slaughter.
As per the report, most cow smugglers working in the area are Meo Muslims from the Mewat region. Mewat has been notorious for a sharp rise in cattle smuggling and other crimes. In 2019, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had slammed the state governments for failing to curb cattle smuggling cases in the region.
The court, over the course of multiple hearings, had asked the police chief to give detailed reasons why none of the accused in 800 cases filed under the state’s anti-cow slaughter laws since 2015 had been convicted. The police had then informed the court that police personnel work in an extremely hostile environment in Mewat, often with a risk of life.
Contrary to ground realities, the mainstream media continues to defame Gau Rakshaks, painting them as lynchers and goons, while whitewashing smugglers as innocent victims.