Self-styled 'gau rakshaks' attacked five members of a family, including a nine-year-old girl, in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district on Friday. Police have registered an FIR against the attackers.
The incident occurred when a group of self-styled cow vigilantes intercepted a nomad family, which was moving their livestock close to Talwara area of the district, and beat them up with rods. The victims were quoted by NDTV as saying that the 'gau rakshaks' took away their entire flock, which included goats, sheep and 16 cows. Sammi, the nine-year-old girl, suffered multiple fractures and has been shifted to a hospital.
"They beat us ruthlessly. Somehow we managed to flee from there. One of our children, a 10-year-old, is still missing. We don't know whether he is alive or dead. They even beat our elders very badly. They wanted to kill us and throw our bodies into the river. They didn't even spare dogs. They too were taken away," Naseem Begam, one of the victims, said adding that they would never be able to forget the horror.
"We have registered an FIR. I have asked DIG of Udhampur range to visit the area. Strict action will be taken against these goons," Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief SP Vaid told NDTV. "We are investigating the case and culprits will be brought to book," a police officer in Reasi added. The attackers have been identified, but no one has been arrested yet.
A huge number of nomadic herder families reside in the state. They travel between the Himalayas in Jammu and the meadows of Kashmir every year along with their livestock, which include flocks of cattle, horses, goats and sheep.