They were being illegally transported to Kerala
Over 200 buffaloes and bulls, being illegally transported to Kerala, were rescued in Nazarethpet on the western outskirts of Chennai on Saturday night, thanks to the vigil of volunteers of a city-based non-government organisation (NGO).
Numbering 229, the animals were transported in eight trucks when they were intercepted by the members of People for Cattle in India (PFCI). Totally, 16 persons were arrested in this connection and the rescued cattle have been taken to a ‘ghoshala’ in Tiruvallur district.
G. Arun, founder of the organisation, said the cattle were procured from Orissa and, through Andhra Pradesh, they were heading to the shandy in Pollachi in Tamil Nadu from where they were to be taken to slaughter houses in Kerala.
His colleagues actually spotted 10 trucks, of which two managed to escape. Five of the seized trucks were bearing Tamil Nadu registration numbers and the remaining Andhra Pradesh numbers. The Andhra vehicles even had extended bodies to accommodate more number of cattle, in gross violation of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, Mr Arun said.
The Nazareth police have registered cases under Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, which states that: “Whoever commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless, any elephant, camel, horse, mule, buffalo, bull, cow or ox, whatever may be the value thereof, of any other animal of the value of fifty rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment or either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.”
Mr Arun said that last time judicial authorities had unknowingly released 60 cattle. The PFCI, which rescued the 103 cattle, housed them in a shelter near Red Hills. Following a court order, the traffickers demanded that all the cattle be released. When the employees refused to do so, the group made an attempt to forcibly take away the animals. Fearing threat from the cattle-trafficking mafia, those running the shelter refused to rehabilitate the cattle. Similarly, the activists had to shell out huge money for feeding the cattle, he said.
Activists say that the State has to take proactive steps to root out cattle trafficking. Tamil Nadu can follow the example set by the Karnataka government which passed an executive order with regard to transportation of cattle.