- 2 men assaulted while transporting cows in Udupi
- One of the men dies of injuries, 18 arrested
- PM Modi recently came down hard on violence by cow vigilantes
Praveen Poojary, 29, was traveling with a friend Akshay Devadiga when they were stopped and thrashed by men, who according to police were members of of a right-wing group named the Hindu Jagrana Vedike. Mr Poojary died of his injuries in hospital four hours after the assault. Mr Devadiga is in hospital.
Mr Poojary, who sold chicken at his shop, was taking the cows to his village in Udupi district, over 400 kms from the state capital of Bengaluru.
Udupi Superintendent of Police KT Balakrishna said that Mr Poojary earned a living by hiring out his vehicle and was transporting the male calves for another man, Ramesh.
"Since they were male calves, the attackers felt they were being taken for slaughter," Mr Balakrishna said.
17 people have been arrested for the murder according to the local police.
Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara said that the attack appeared to be the result of a rivalry between cattle traders and that the attack may not be communal. "But the investigation is going on and we will share once get more," he said.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came down hard on recent attacks by cow protection squads, warning that most of them use religion as a cover for crime. His government has ordered states to ensure that violence is not committed in the name of protecting cows, which are sacred for Hindus.
"We are vigilant and trying to maintain peace. I appeal to the people who are trying to create this type of disturbance not to do it," the Karnataka Home Minister said.
Last month, four young Dalit men were stripped and tied to a car and thrashed in Una in Gujarat after wrongly being accused of cow slaughter, illegal in several states. The men were in fact skinning a dead cow, an exacting and poorly-paid job that lower castes are forced to perform.
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