Seven tourists from Andhra Pradesh, including three women, were allegedly assaulted by suspected cattle traffickers in Odisha's Rayagada district, the police said on Saturday.
According to media reports, the tourists were attacked after they opposed the way that the accused were ill-treating the cattle.
The Hindustan Times reported that the incident occurred on Friday evening, when more than 20 cattle traffickers were taking around 500 cattle on road and were thrashing the animals.
When the tourists tried to protest, they were assaulted, and their mobile phones were smashed, the HT report adds.
One of the injured, K.V. Kanan, told the media, "The cattle traffickers were beating the animals. When we protested, they assaulted us. They also molested three of our women companions. We dialled police helpline number 100 and tried to contact local police station, superintendent of police and collector, but to no avail."
Inspector UN Sethi of the Chandili police station, where an FIR had been lodged by the victims, said that investigation had begun.
‚ÄúThe incident happened under Bissam Cuttack police station limits. After a preliminary probe, we transferred the case to Bissam-Cuttack police. The accused will surely be arrested,‚ÄĚ Sethi told Deccan Chronicle.
The DC report adds that cattle dealers from Andhra Pradesh, through their local contacts in Odisha, buy cattle from Rayagada, Gajapati, Kalahandi and Koraput in Odisha and herd them by road, in harsh conditions.
The victims also approached Rayagada district collector Guha Poonam Tapas Kumar to seek her intervention.
"I have directed the police to take action against the attackers. The district has conducive environment for the tourists and their safety is our top priority," the collector was quoted as saying.