Police in Bihar’s Bhabua town saved a truck driver, who was carrying animal bones in his vehicle, from being lynched by cow vigilantes on Wednesday evening, officials have said.
The incident happened at 8pm on Wednesday on the western outskirts of Bhabua in southwest Bihar when at least 100 vigilantes chased the truck on motorcycles alleging the driver was transporting beef and cow skin in his truck.
The mob was led by Uttam Patel, a self-declared state president of the youth wing of Hindu Samaj, police said. The men dragged the driver out of the truck, held him captive and assaulted him at a post just a few hundred yards from the residence of the superintendent of police (SP), they added.
The driver told the mob he was carrying animal bones in his truck but the men did not stop assaulting. They also damaged the truck.
A police team rushed to the spot rescued the driver from being lynched within a few minutes, SP Dilnawaz Ahmad said.
Uttam Patel and his supporters opposed the police action and asked them to hand over the driver to them. They threatened the police officer that he would be removed from services and with other dire consequences.
Additional police force and riot control vehicle were rushed from police lines under sub-divisional police officer Ajay Prasad as the situation worsened. Patel was later arrested.
Patel and 50 to 60 of his supporters were booked for the attack on the driver, threatening police and infringement in government duty. Patel and driver were sent to jail on Thursday.
Police found animal bones loaded on the truck and it was seized. The driver Abu Hasan, a resident of Majhwaliya village under Maraura police station of Chapra district, could not show documents authorising the transportation of bones.
However, the man who had hired the truck for transporting the bones to a factory in Gujarat appeared on Thursday evening and showed a valid license issued by the government for the purpose, SP Ahmad said.
Police said Patel is involved in 11 cases of extortion, theft and communal violence in the district and police had also taken action against him under Bihar Crime Control Act.
He was earlier arrested and sent to jail on December 7, 2018, when he had caught a man with beef at Bhabua and blocked the road demanding a check on illegal butcheries at Babura, a village adjacent to the district headquarters town, SP Ahmad said.