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Maharashtra: Nanded police thrash youths for stopping vehicles carrying smuggled cows, and let go the smugglers, accused cop suspended after outrage

Islapur Police's API Raghunath Shewale suspended after a video of him thrashing four youths with a belt for stopping cow smugglers went viral

In a shocking incident in Nanded in Maharashtra, police thrashed several youths for attempting to stop cow smuggling. A video of the incident has gone viral on Twitter, causing massive outrage against the police. The accused cop has been suspended more than a week after the incident, after outrage on social media.

On 11 February, Legal Rights Observatory posted a clip of the incident, where Islapur Police’s API Raghunath Shewale is seen beating four youths half-naked with a strap. Reportedly, the youths are VHP and Bajrang Dal members, and they were mercilessly thrashed by the cop because they had caught two vehicles carrying smuggled cattle.

According to LRO, the Nanded Police let 8 smugglers run with the trucks carrying the cows, and instead arrested the Hindu activist youths.

The incident took place on Thursday, February 2, when the cow protectors of Islampur Bajrang Dal informed Senior Superintendent of Police and Assistant Police Inspector of Islampur Police Station, Raghunath Shewale, about the two vehicles carrying smuggled cattle meant for slaughter. However, as the police didn’t arrive in time, the cow vigilantes stopped the vehicle themselves.

After some time, Raghunath Shewale reached the spot, and he was told that the activists have already lodged a complaint regarding the smuggling. But despite that, he let the smugglers go without taking any action.

The VHP and Bajrang Dal complained about this to senior police officials. Angry at this, Raghunath Shewale called the activist youths to the Islapur police station on February 5, accusing them of being involved in a fight the day before in Shivni village. When they reached the police station, he removed their shirts and started beating them with a belt in front of large crowd. The incident was recorded by an onlooker.

When the video started to appear on social media, the cop found the youth who recorded the video and got him to delete it. The youth deleted it from his phone and fled from the town fearing police action. However, the video still went viral as many others had downloaded it and they started sharing it. However, no action was taken by the police in the matter.

After the video appeared, Vishwa Hindu Parishad official Kiran Bichewar wrote to the Home Minister, Superintendent of Police, and Director General of Police, seeking action against Islapur Assistant Police Inspector Raghunath Shewale.

Following the complaint and after the video went viral at the national level, Nanded Police responded to it today. In a statement, the police said that after seeing the video where a cop is seeing thrashing half-naked youths, Nanded SP Krishna Kokate has ordered a preliminary inquiry to verify the truth of the incident. In the meanwhile, Raghunath Shewale has been transferred to Police Control Room, Nanded.

SP Srikrishna Kokate told NDTV that after receiving the complaint, API Raghunath Shewale has been removed from the police station and sent to the control room and the matter is under investigation.

Following this, LRO alleged that only transferring the cop shows that the entire hierarchy of Nanded Police has links with cow smugglers. Many people said that this light action shows that the police are involved with the smugglers.

After this caused a massive outrage, on the fact that the cop has not been suspend despite the presence of video evidence, the police made amends, and suspended API Raghunath Shewale today. However, no action has been taken against PSI Bodhgire who was equally involved, according to LRO. The legal activist group said that they will move for EOW and CID inquiry to unearth Police- smuggler nexus.

A statement issued by Nanded Police says that Raghunath Tulshidas Shewale is posted at Islapur, and two Mahindra pick-up vehicles were found on Shivni Road with two smuggled bulls in one vehicle and one bull in the other. However, he didn’t arrest the smugglers.

Moreover, no legal action was taken regarding the incident of beating, and no satisfactory answer was given on the act of beating some youths with a belt. Thus, it was a gross negligence in the discharge of duty, the statement said.

Accordingly, according to the provisions of the Maharashtra Police (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1956, Raghunath Tulshidas Shewale has been suspended from his post. However, his transfer to the control room will remain effective, and he will have to report at the Headquarters every day in the morning and evening.

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