Mumbai: A shocking incident of harassment by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes came to light from a recent post on Facebook by a professional in Mumbai. The Amboli Police in Mumbai are investigating a complaint against an auto rickshaw driver for intimidating a passenger, accusing him of carrying a bag made of cow hide.
Barun Kashyap, a Mumbai resident who posted the incident to his Facebook account, said trouble began when he hailed an auto to work at 11:30 am on August 19. Police said the driver began a conversation, asking Kashyap about a bag he was carrying. He alleged the bag was made of cow hide, though Kashyap explained it was made from camel.
The belligerent driver probed further, asking him where he hailed from. When Kashyap told him he was from Assam, the driver retorted, “Is it next to Bangladesh?” He further claimed that despite the ban on cow slaughter in Maharashtra, it was encouraged in Mumbai.
The driver then insisted the bag smelled of cow skin. Kashyap said that since it had got wet, the bag was giving off the peculiar odour. Things turned scary, Kashyap claimed in his Facebook post, when the driver took a detour to a temple and stopped there.
Here he called out to two men and a discussion ensued in Marathi, a language Kashyap cannot understand. One of the men also fiddled with Kashyap’s bag without permission. Kahyap was then asked his full name. After some tense moments, the auto driver took Kashyap back towards his destination — a production house where he works as a creative head, but Kashyap got off at a signal.
The rickshaw driver allegedly said to Kashyap: “Ab bach gaye ho agli baar nahi bachoge” (you have escaped this time, next time you won’t). A day after the incident, Kashyap approached the DN Nagar police on the advice of his colleagues. A non-cognisable offence was registered and the complaint was transferred to the Amboli police as the incident occurred in their jurisdiction.
Senior police inspector Bharat Gaikwad of Amboli police station confirmed that the complaint had been registered for intentional insult and criminal intimidation under section 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. “The two had a quarrel. We are probing to see if cognisance can to be taken,” Gaikwad said. Kashyap, who had noted the last four digits of the auto registration number, provided the details to police.