BENGALURU: Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has hit out at a section of police, saying they take bribe from cattle smugglers and 'sleep like dogs' as they let them operate with impunity.
In a video clip that has gone viral, Jnanendra is purportedly seen shouting at a police officer over phone for their failure to check the theft and smuggling of cattle, especially cows.
"Those who are transporting cattle are habitual offenders. Your officers know it well but they take bribe and sleep like dogs. Your police need self-esteem," Jnanendra is heard saying in the video.
"I did not say anything till now but should I continue as a home minister or not?" Jnanendra is heard saying and claims cattle smuggling is going on in Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts.
"The entire police force is rotten today. We are giving salary but no one wants to live only on the salary. They want to live on the leftover (bribe)," Jnanendra is heard saying.
The Minister later clarified that he did not liken all the police officers but a section of them.
He, however, said in his village in Teerthalli Taluk of Shivamogga district, cattle smugglers in their vehicles tried to run over two animal rights activists when they tried to stop them.
"Their (animal rights activists) condition was so serious that I arranged their admission in the Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru. I was deeply hurt. This is an inhumane act," Jnanendra said.
He alleged that some police were not acting tough against the cattle smugglers despite being armed with a new law banning cow slaughter in the state.
"Some policemen were hand in glove with them. Against this backdrop, I spoke with anger (in the video)," Jnanendra clarified.
He alleged the smugglers come to the cattle owners with machetes in Malnad region and forcibly take away their cattle.
The minister said Karnataka police has earned a good name in the country but there were some shortcomings.
"My only concern is complete ban on cow slaughter after the promulgation of law," the state home minister said.
The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020 was introduced last year in the state and came into effect from February.
Under the law, slaughter of cattle will lead to imprisonment of up to three to seven years and a fine ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh, and subsequent offences will attract imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine from Rs one lakh to Rs 10 lakh.
Recently, many animal rights activists such as the members of Go Gyan Foundation were allegedly attacked by the smugglers and owners of slaughter houses in various parts of Karnataka including Bengaluru.
The NGO members had alleged that police were not acting against the culprits and were letting them go scot-free.