Shimla: Even as Himachal Pradesh Police on Saturday intensified its operation to arrest villagers who lynched an alleged cattle smuggler in a fit of rage in Sirmaur district two days back, tension and display of public anger was reported from the Behat area in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh following the killing of the local man in Himachal.
Noman Akhtar's family alleged that it was the Bajrang Dal activists who beat him to death. Noman used to work as daily wage labourer.
Imran Asghar, a relative of Noman, told The Hindu on the phone, “You can’t kill people like this. What has happened to this country? Even if he was found to be with cows it does not mean that you would lynch the person.”
“We are extremely poor people. Most members of Noman’s family are daily wage labourers. He was working as a daily worker and working for somebody who were doing this criminal act,” Asghar said.
Noman Akhtar, a resident of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, was beaten to death on Wednesday at a village some 28 km from Nahan town at Sirmaur in the Sarahan area of Himachal Pradesh.
His accomplices, who also got injuries in the incident, have been hospitalised at Sarhan in the district.
"The search operation is on to arrest the accused," Superintendent of Police Somya Sambasivan told IANS.
She said a murder case has been registered. "We will arrest the accused soon. It is probable that the people who alerted the police about the illegal cattle transportation might have killed Noman," she added.
The police have booked Noman's accomplices - Gulzar, Gulfam, Mohammad Nishu and Salman - under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.
Refuting the allegations of the involvement of any political party behind the incident, the police official said: "We cannot comment on the political affiliation of the assailants."
She said Noman, whose medical report confirmed he received "multifarious blunt injuries", was an undertrial in another cattle theft case.
Police officials say Sirmaur district, bordering Uttarakhand, is used as a transit route for smuggling cattle from Punjab to Uttar Pradesh. Cases of cattle theft are also common in the district.