What started as a brief altercation between cow vigilantes and cattle transporters turned into a major trigger point for a likely communal tension, nothing short of a riot-like situation here in the intervening hours of Tuesday and Wednesday. A police officer on duty suffered a skull bone fracture in the melee.
Vanasthalipuram Sub-Inspector A. Madhava Reddy, who got injured from stone pelting by furious and protesting cow protectors, is being treated at a private hospital and was said to be under observation.
According to the police, it all started with an exchange of expletives and manhandling followed by attack with weapons, when a cow protection group stopped a van carrying five calves. Reportedly, Md. Yousuf and his son Md. Nissar, who are into beef business, had purchased the calves, including two buffaloes, from Mall village in Nalgonda and were heading towards Talab Katta.
The two reportedly attacked the cow protectors with rods in which their driver S. Lingamaiah also sustained injuries. “But when Yousuf and Nissar returned with four other youths to the spot, they chased the ‘gau rakshaks’ towards Karmanghat Hanuman temple, outraging religious feelings, and with an intention to kill them,” police stated.
Van driver Lingamaiah, the father-son duo and the four who joined later, were arrested around 10 p.m. and named accused for attempt to murder, deliberate and malicious act to outrage religious feelings, rioting and cruelty to animals, among other provisions.
The calves were sent to a goshala at Abdullapurmet for custody.
Police added that the cow vigilantes and activists, furious over their “religious sentiments being hurt”, took to chanting slogans, and disrupted traffic. They also pelted stones at police officials. Several police vehicles were vandalised and officers received injuries. Mr. Reddy suffered a serious head injury.
In addition to assault on police, vandalising public property, unlawful assembly, rioting and attempt to murder sections against the cow vigilantes and others in the mob, police accepted Lingamaiah’s petition that the ‘gau rakshaks’ assaulted him.
Temple turns garrison
The Karmanghat Hanuman Temple, on Wednesday, resembled a garrison as Rachakonda police set up pickets and stationed several units to ensure law and order. It successfully prevented any mobilisation by protesting groups.
Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat inspected the areas and released a quick and detailed press note. In-charge DGP Anjani Kumar met top officials in Intelligence, Counter Intelligence and Law & Order departments over the issue.
“It has been resolved that firm action will be taken against communal offenders and those who are trying to disturb communal situation in the State. Telangana has been progressing fast and none will be allowed to tarnish the image of the State by creating communal tension,” he said in a release, and added that communal history sheets will be opened against such violators.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who was in Toguta in Siddipet distirict to inaugurate Mallannasagar reservoir, also set his afternoon speech to the context.
“Disgusting things are happening in the country. Hyderabad ranks next to Bengaluru, the high-tech ‘Silicon Valley’, but even IAS officers are afraid to send their children there now. With communal riots and disturbances, there will be no industries. I will fight till my last breath to prevent that ‘cancer’,” he said.