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Beef mafia in Uttar Pradesh: Man shot dead by cattle smugglers for resisting theft of his buffaloes

Saddam and Jumman were identified as cattle smugglers who shot dead Usveer Yadav, 21, when he opposed their attempt to steal his buffaloes on the intervening night of November 16 and 17 in Uttar Pradesh's Kasgang.

Earlier last week, a man was killed in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj for holding out against armed smugglers who had raided a house with the intention of stealing the cattle. 

The deceased, identified as Usveer Yadav, 21, was attacked and killed by cattle smugglers for resisting theft of his buffaloes. 

Swarajya Magazine’s journalist Swati Goel Sharma got in touch with the deceased’s cousin, Govind, to get more information about the tragedy that befell their family. Govind said the incident took place at around 12 am on the intervening night of 16 and 17 November. 

Govind, along with his brother, Usveer, was sleeping on the cot when they heard a commotion outside their house. They woke up to find their neighbour Jagdish raising frants alarm calls to inform them that their buffalos were being taken away by cattle smugglers. 

The two brothers rushed out to stop the thieves when one of the armed robbers pumped a bullet in Usveer’s head. Govind and his family managed to put Usveer in a vehicle and rushed for the hospital, but he died on the way. 

Usveer was the eldest of the six siblings. An elder sister is married, while two younger brothers and sisters each are studying in school or working at home, Govind told Ms Sharma in his conversation with the Swarajya journalist. For more than a year now, Usveer had been living in New Delhi, where he lived on rent and worked. 

“He was the sole breadwinner in his family as my uncle is quite old. He used to regularly send money home,” Govind said. 

Usveer would come to his village Nagla Dungar in Kasganj district near Agra only twice or thrice in a year. This time around, he had come to his home to attend an annual mela that is organised every November. But little did the family know that it would be the last time that Usveer would return to the village. 

When asked to hand over the phone to Usveer’s father, Govind declined stating that the trauma has been too hard on him to put up with and he is yet to overcome the tragedy and speak on the phone about his son’s murder. 

Hours after the incident took place, the official Twitter account of Kasganj police posted a note saying four team were deployed to catch the culprits. They had recovered two pistols from the gang, along with some cartridges and two buffaloes. 

On November 20, three days after the incident, the Twitter account of the Kasganj police had caught a gang of buffalo thieves that shot dead people. Along with the tweet, a video statement by Kasganj Superintendent of Police Rohan Botre was also shared on Twitter. In the video, Botre said two members of the gang had confessed their role in the killing of Usveer. 

According to Hindi newspapers, the two men had been identified as Saddam and Jumman. 

As per Govind, the police had informed the family the smugglers were in the business of stealing cattle and selling them to slaughterhouses for meat. 

Sharp rise in violent attacks against Gaurakshaks and holdouts by cattle smugglers

However, even as mainstream media obsesses over demonsing Gaurakshaks or cattle vigilantes, the attacks carried out by bovine smugglers against unsuspecting victims have increased sharply over the years.

In 2018, the Punjab and Haryana High Court made critical observations while hearing the bail application of a man accused of cattle slaughter in Mewat’s Nuh region.

“…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,” the Court said about the nature of crime committed by cattle smugglers.

While the remarks were specific for the cattle smuggler active in Mewat region, wrongdoers in other regions seemed to have embraced the same modus operandi. In August 2019, one youth in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit region was shot dead for trying to stop the smugglers from stealing cattle. Earlier on July 31, 2019, a ‘Gau Rakshak’ named Gopal had been killed after he was shot dead by a cattle smuggling gang. The incident occurred in a village near Palwal, Haryana.

In the same year, another such incident took place when a person named Vikas Sharma, a resident of Natthu Colony, Ballabhgarh in Haryana was killed after he tried to stop the cattle smugglers. An FIR had been subsequently registered by the police against six persons identified as Arif (a resident of Utawad, Palwal), Tassi (a resident of Punhana), Subin (a resident of Dhauj), Teeman (a resident of Bibipur) and Tareef (a resident of Nuh).

As the mainstream media and left-leaning journalists go out of their way to understate the criminal tendencies of cattle smugglers, they feel increasingly emboldened to continue their illicit activities unabashedly. In June 2021, VHP Gaurakshak Hardik Kansara was killed by cattle smugglers when he tried to stop them from smuggling cattle into Maharashtra. 10 people were arrested in connection with the case.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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