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Armed With Sickles, Gau Rakshaks Attack 9-year-old Girl, 4 Others in J&K

A nine-year-old girl was among five people beaten up by self-styled gau rakshaks in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Mufti Islah | CNN-News18

Updated:April 22, 2017, 4:19 PM IST
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Srinagar: A nine-year-old girl and four nomads were injured in a brutal assault by gau rakshaks armed with sickles in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The nomadic community were moving with livestock that included goats, sheep, cow, horses and dogs when they were ambushed by a crowd of 300 in Talwara area of the district.

The victims said the attackers had planned to kill them and throw them into a river. They also robbed them of the livestock.

"They were planning to kill us. They did not even spare my old uncle. Our 10 -year-old son has been missing. We are looking for him," a woman who was part of the nomadic group told reporters in a video chat.

"The attack was sudden and they took all our belongings. Our goat, sheep and dogs were all looted," another woman said.

Reasi SP Tahir Bhat told News 18 that five people who allegedly instigated the 300-strong were identified. No arrests were made till Saturday evening. "We have recovered the animals that were looted, but no arrests have been made so far. An FIR has been registered."

Police sources, however, said that arrests had been delayed keeping in mind the law and order situation in the communally sensitive district.

"We won't arrest them now, but next week. There is a need to keep peace in the area," said a top police officer.

Javaid Rahi, an influential leader of nomadic community, told News 18 that such incidents of harassment were rising in the Jammu region mainly in Kathua, Samba, Udhampur and Reasi.

"It happens during month of April when bakerwal families from Jammu start to move towards Kashmir to graze their livestock. We have requested the government to add security in the plains of Jammu where such attacks have taken place," he said.

This is not the first time that nomads or shepherds have been attacked in the state. Self-styled cow vigilantes have been attacking truckers who ferry bovines or sheep to Valley.

Two years ago, gau rakshaks killed a Kashmiri trucker in Udhampur over rumours that he was smuggling beef. Zahid, the victim, had suffered serious burns when he was attacked with a petrol bomb and his truck set on fire on October 9, 2015.

The attack was carried out after rumours that three cows were killed in the area. Zahid and his helper, who were on their way to Srinagar, had to be moved to Delhi for treatment.

Officials had said tests revealed that the cows had died due to food poisoning and the rumours of slaughter were created to flame communal tensions in the Hindu-majority area.

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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