PANAJI/OLD GOA: Animal rights activists rescuing cattle from slaughter were literally arm twisted by the police on Wednesday, as a police sub-inspector of Old Goa police station allegedly misbehaved twisting the palm of a lady activist over differences of opinion regarding use of relevant provisions of the law at the police station.
It was the intervention of Maneka Gandhi, through her counterpart in Goa, Norma Alvares, that finally got the case registered under the relevant sections. The girl, Atika S, who was outraged at the incident, called up SP, North, Vijay Singh, after noting down his number from the board of the police station and complained to him. The SP rushed to the spot to sort out the issue.
"PSI Nalvesh Desai held my palm and twisted it while I was telling him to lodge the complaint under sections of Goa Cow Slaughter Act," an outraged Atika said, alleging that the police were registering the complaint under the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act. Atika informed Gandhi of the misbehaviour by the PSI.
Activists of the Bicholim-based NGO animal rescue squad first foiled an attempt to illegally slaughter cattle at Pandavaddo, Chorao earlier on Wednesday morning. When they went to Old Goa police station to register a first information report (FIR) against the offenders, a heated argument broke out between the police and activists regarding the sections of various acts to be applied in the case.
Complainant and NGO president Amrutlal S Singh was accompanied by Atika S and John Varghese.
After Amrutlal Singh submitted the written complaint, the PSI demanded to know where the specific section was mentioned in it. "When I pointed the particular section in the complaint, he held my palm and turned it," Atika alleged.
A police source alleging that Atika had not identified herself, despite being asked by the police as she was not connected with the raid at the site of the alleged cow slaughter at Chorao. "She grabbed the complaint from PSI's hand, stating that the correct section was not being written on it," the source said.
Atika conceded that she did not reveal her identity as she was being threatened with arrest by the police official. "I was afraid as I am a visitor," she said.
She denied having snatched the paper from the PSI.
An official said they had not received any complaint of misbehaviour. The source confirmed that the SP had visited the police station after he was called and the matter regarding the registration of the offence has been sorted out. "If we receive a complaint of misbehavior, we will examine it," the official said.
Atika has alleged that Old Goa police are refusing to register her FIR against the PSI.
A complaint against Chorao residents Mustaq Gauns Bepari and Gauns Raja Bepari has been registered under Section 429 read with Section 34 of IPC, Section 11 (d) of the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act, Section 8 of the Goa Animal Preservation Act, 1995 and Section 3 and 9 (non-bailable and cognizable) of the Goa, Daman and Diu Cow Slaughter Act, 1978.
The accused had transported two cows and an identical number of oxen from Mayem to Chorao. Singh and Ishwar Pawar followed the vehicle to Chorao and when the duo was readying to slaughter the cattle at around 5.15am, he called the police.
Old Goa police rushed to the site and seized two cows and two male calves. The two were subsequently arrested, police said. Four cattle skins were also found at the spot.
In a similar case at Chorao involving the same offenders in January 2011, Old Goa police had applied only Section 11 (d) of the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act, which is a bailable offence, Singh said.
Animal husbandry and veterinary services director Benjamin Braganza said the department does not have a 'provision' to transport impounded cattle. "As of now the department keeps impounded cattle at the Kalay farm in Sanguem and transportation of cattle to such a distance is indeed a problem," he said. tnn