The Jammu and Kashmir Police registered two first information reports on Tuesday, a day after a mob set a truck on fire in the state’s Kathua district alleging that the vehicle was being used to smuggle cattle. Protestors also tried to block the Jammu-Pathankot national highway, prompting the police to fire tear gas shells and use batons to disperse the crowd, PTI reported.
Though no one has been arrested, one person has been “taken in apprehension”, Senior Superintendent of Police Shridhar Patil told Scroll.in. “We will first verify his involvement in bovine smuggling. After that, we will take action in the arson incident.”
Tension prevailed in Hiranagar area following the incident on Monday, according to Greater Kashmir. An unidentified police official said around 250 residents of Pathwal village in Hiranagar had intercepted the Kashmir-bound truck, which was reportedly carrying eight cows and a buffalo.
The driver and his assistant abandoned the vehicle and fled after noticing the mob. The official said the protestors brought out the cattle and then set the vehicle on fire. It could not be confirmed if the animals were being transported illegally.
“The truck was coming from Ghagwal side and the police was already chasing it,” , said Kathua Deputy Commissioner Rohit Khajuria. “In order to escape, the truck went off the highway and entered a village called Pathwal where people also started chasing it.”
The mob blocked the highway demanding the arrest of the accused. Later, the protestors later marched from Pathwal village to Dayalachak in Jammu. The protest was called off after the police assured action will be taken against the culprits, an unidentified police official told the Hindustan Times.
Khajuria and Patil said the situation in the district is now normal. “The situation was tense for one or two hours after the incident,” Patil added. “The miscreants who burnt the truck had blocked the highway but police took action. After that, the tempers have gone down and the situation at present is completely normal.”
Meanwhile, two people were arrested in Samba district in the state on Monday for allegedly smuggling cattle. A police spokesperson said 16 animals being smuggled in a truck were rescued.