The charred bodies of two men were found in a car in Haryana’s Bhiwani district on Thursday after they were allegedly abducted by cow vigilantes from Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district, PTI reported.
The development came a day after the families of two Muslim men from Bharatpur – Nasir and Junaid alias Juna – alleged in a police complaint that they have been missing and were abducted by members of Hindutva organisation Bajrang Dal.
Bharatpur Superintendent of Police Shyam Singh said that the Bolero car found charred in Bhiwani was the same one that was missing from Bharatpur. However, he said that authorities will conduct a DNA examination of the bodies to ascertain their identities.
The Rajasthan Police have filed a case under provisions of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to unlawful assembly, abduction, kidnapping or abduction to subject a person to grievous hurt or slavery and wrongful confinement, according to The Wire.
The case has been filed against four persons named Lokesh, Rinku Saini, Srikant and Monu Manesar.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the killings were condemnable and that he has directed the police to take strict action in the case. “The police forces of Rajasthan and Haryana are taking action in a co-ordinated manner,” he said. “One accused person has been taken into custody and a search is on for other accused persons.”
Bharatpur Range Inspector General of Police Gaurav Srivastava said that six persons have been detained and are being interrogated, PTI reported. “Those named in the FIR are associated with the Bajrang Dal but whether they were involved in the crime or not is yet to be ascertained,” he said.
The official added that Junaid had five cases related to alleged bovine smuggling registered against him.
According to the police, Nasir and Junaid were abducted on Wednesday. The charred bodies were found in a burnt car in the Bhiwani district’s Loharu district on Thursday morning.
The Bharatpur superintendent of police said that the alleged involvement of cow vigilantes in the case is a matter of investigation.
Junaid’s cousin Ismail told The Wire that the family filed a police complaint after they could not trace him for several hours and came to know that the Bajrang Dal had abducted the two men.
Junaid’s relatives also claimed that members of the Hindutva organisation took the men to the Firozpur Jhirka police station in Haryana. However, according to the family, the police did not take the two men in custody as they had been grievously injured due to the assault.
Monu Manesar, one of the men named in the FIR, claimed that the allegations against the accused persons were false. “Neither my team nor Bajrang Dal Haryana unit has got anything to do with the incident that happened in Gopalgarh police station in Rajasthan,” he claimed.
Earlier this month, a man named Waris had died in the same area in Haryana, and his family had claimed that he was lynched by Bajrang Dal members led by Manesar, according to The Wire. The Bajrang Dal leader had also reportedly uploaded a video of a seemingly injured Waris on Facebook, but later deleted the post.
Subsequently, Manesar had denied involvement in Waris’ death and the police claimed that he died in a road accident.
Manesar, who has been associated with the Bajrang Dal since 2013, has been involved in several instances of cow vigilantism, according to Alt News. While he has claimed that his team has never assaulted alleged cow smugglers, several photos uploaded by the Hindutva organisation on social media have shown such men in a wounded state.