ROURKELA: Increased confrontations between cow smugglers and self-styled protection groups in Sundargarh district has emerged as a major challenge for police administration.
Recently, three platoons of police force were deployed at Khatkurbahal in Kutra after a law and order situation due to smuggling of cows. The incident stemmed after smuggling of 160 cows was thwarted by so-called activists at Dalki within Raiboga police limits on December 4. Following the incident, two youths were detained and this led their supporters clash with the other side on December 5. However, timely intervention of police prevented escalation.
Sundargarh SP Sagarika Nath, ASP RN Barik and Rajgangpur SDPO Shashank Beura rushed to Kutra and brought the situation under control. The SP also warned of action against law breakers.Beura said four separate cases have been registered for kidnap and clash. The situation is under control and persons found involved in the flare-up would be arrested.
Sources said this not an isolated case of ‘cow protectors’ (Gau Rakshaks) directly confronting the smugglers involved in illegal transportation of cattle. On October 30, an SUV was set on fire at Rourkela, leading to arrest of five persons from both sides.
Though cattle smuggling is going on in the district for several decades, the ‘cow protectors’ in Rajgangpur, Birmitrapur, Rourkela and RN Pali Assembly constituencies have become active in last three to four years. These ‘vigilantes’ are directly raiding vehicles carrying cow before seeking police help.
Cow smuggling in Sundargarh is linked to cattle market at Sikajor of Kinjirkela and Khatkurbahal of Kutra. The animals are transported to adjacent Jharkhand and from there, they are sent to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and even Bangladesh.