Kingpin of Cow Vigilantes who Attacked a Muslim Meat Seller in Moradabad Arrested

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Four persons were arrested by the Moradabad Police on May 24. — Moradabad Police/Twitter

Four of the five accused, other than Manoj Thakur, are already in police net

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday arrested Manoj Thakur, a Hindutva activist and head of a gang of self-styled cow vigilantes who was on the run since May 23 following mob attack on a Muslim meat seller Shakir Qureshi, 32, in Koad village in Moradabad district of the state.

“Thakur was arrested this morning at 10:45 PM,” Rashid Khan, a police officer at Katghar station told Clarion India. “He was wanted in connection with FIR 244/2021 with sections 147 (rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 386 (extortion), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation).”

Thakur was arrested in Moradabad after a manhunt of five days, Khan said, adding that he was sent to jail after keeping in lockup for a few hours.

Four of the five accused, other than Thakur, were arrested a day after the attack following the FIR on the complaint of Shakir. Apart from Thakur, the five accused are Pradeep, Babu, Gulshan, Sumit and Vijay.

Shakir was brutally assaulted on May 23 by Thakur and his men near a private school in Koad when he was carrying buffalo meat to sell in the market.

“The men stopped Shakir and started beating him up,” Junaid Alam, his brother-in-law, said while speaking with Clarion India over phone. “They asked him what meat he was carrying. He told them it was buffalo meat but they accused him that it was beef and demanded Rs.50,000 from him.”

According to Alam, they threatened to kill him if he would not agree to their demand. “They also aimed a pistol at him,” said Alam.

That day Shakir had left home carrying buffalo meat to sell it in the market when he was waylaid by Thaurkur and his men and thrashed brutally, according to his family.

A video of the attack on Shakir has gone viral on social media. It shows Shakir being held by two men while one man is thrashing him on his thighs with a baton. A group of men act as spectators. The video clip then moves to showing Shakir being tied to a tree.

“Shakir was beaten so much that his buttocks had turned red and his skin bruised,” Alam said. “He is at home now but still frightened.”

When the goons were thrashing Shakir, someone from the crowd dialled the police helpline. But when the police arrived on the scene, they took injured Shakir into their custody instead of nabbing the assilaiants.

The police, bizarrely, probed if Shakir was indeed carrying cow meat. The police had also filed an FIR against Shakir for not possessing receipt/invoice of the meat he was carrying and for not wearing a face mask, thus violating government suggested Covid-19 protocol.

According to police officer Khan, “the FIR against Shakir is still there.”

Shakir’s family including Alam reached the station to seek his release. In the meanwhile the video of the attack reached the circle officer and Shakir was eventually let go.

The police entertained Shakir’s complaint and booked Thakur and his four aides.

Thakur claimed, according to The Quint, that he was vice president of Bharatiya Gauraksha (cow protection) Vahini. However, the president of the extremist outfit Rakesh Singh Parihar refuted Thaurkur’s claim and said that he was fired from the organisation six months ago over allegations of extortions.

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