Vrindavan, 2016.08.21 (VT): The Patiala police arrested Gau Raksha Dal chief Satish Kumar on Saturday evening in Vrindavan. He had been booked on August 8 in Patiala under several charges and arrested on Aug. 21, after which he had absconded.
Police sources said he was arrested following a raid in Vrindavan where he had been hiding. His location was intercepted through tracing mobile phone calls. SSP Gurmeet Chauhan of Patiala confirmed his arrest but did not provide any details.
Satish Kumar was booked on a number of charges related to his violent acts against cattle thieves and slaughterers. The original charges were brought down after videos showing Gauraksha Dal members brutally thrashing and harassing people found to be transporting cows for slaughter.
According to reports, several victims of the group have told the police that they were detained by the self-styled cow vigilantes, robbed, tortured and also sodomised by Satish.
Cattle traders have also come out against Kumar and his group alleging that they have extorted money from many traders over the years under the guise of cow protection.
Satish Kumar’s activities have come under increased scrutiny after Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly rebuked cow vigilantes last month, saying most of them are ‘anti-social’ elements who are running ‘shops’ in the name of cow protection.
Commenting on violence against Dalits by cow vigilantes, Prime Minister Modi asked the state governments to prepare dossiers on the so-called cow protectors as, he said, 80 percent of them do illegal activities at night and become cow protectors during the day.
“People who are troubled by the unity of the society are attempting to create friction in the name of cow protection. I urge my fellow countrymen to beware of such gau rakshaks,” the Prime Minister said.
The Gau Raksha Dal of Punjab claims that they are worshipers of Go Mata and committed to saving cows. The group headed by Satish Kumar is a registered society. He claims that the group has saved more than 100,000 cows from slaughter since 1986 and has registered more than 500 cases against cow smugglers across the country.
In several interviews and videos uploaded on social media, Satish Kumar has proudly confirmed that the Gau Raksha Dal is an extra-legal force willing and eager to resort to violence to protect the holy cow.
After the PM’s comments against cow vigilantes, Kumar dismissed them as a political move to woo Muslims and Dalits in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, where elections are upcoming.
“The PM’s statement is politically motivated. It is one-sided. If he had warned the butchers not to slaughter or smuggle cow, then his statement would have been justified. “He is doing vote bank politics to get the butchers’ vote,” Kumar had said. He said the police were free to arrest him.
Let me tell you, I won’t back out. I will keep my tirade against cow slaughtering. I am not afraid of arrest. I will court arrest. It is my wish that if I die before there is a blanket ban on killing of cows in India, my ashes be kept at a ‘gaushala’ and immersed in the Ganga only after every cow is safe in India. Satish Kumar, speaking to Hindustan Times
The Prime Minister’s statement denouncing cow vigilantism came after a string of incidents of attacks on Dalits, including in Una, Gujarat where some youths were brutally assaulted for skinning a dead cow.