In an embarrassment to the Bajrang Dal, an activist of the pro-Hindu group was arrested along with one other person for illegally transporting cattle at Kadambu junction in Vittalapadnoor in Dakshina Kannada district on Thursday.
Incidentally, the Bajrang Dal had held a protest on Thursday morning demanding that cows be protected and the police set up a separate cell to check the illegal transportation of cows.
Acting on a tip off, officials at Vittala police station stopped an Ashok Leyland pick-up truck at around 11 pm on Thursday night and found four cows and a calf being transported by Shashikumar (48) and his driver Abdul Haris (21).
Police confirmed that Shashikumar is a member of the Bajrang Dal and is a resident of Vittalapadnoor in the district, while Abdul has previously been accused of illegally transporting cows.
The cattle was being transported in the truck, which was modified so that it looked like a normal truck from the outside, but could be used to smuggle cattle.
"The duo have been charged under appropriate sections of the Animal Act and Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, along with Section 379 (theft) of the IPC. It was found that the car was modified in a way that it's body could be raised. One of the accused, Shashikumar, happens to be a Bajrang Dal member as well,” a police official at Bantwal police station told TNM.
Protection of cows is a priority for the Bajrang Dal since the group has held several agitations in the district seeking stricter laws to stop the illegal transportation of cows.
On Thursday, the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) held a protest, and Bajrang Dal convenor for South Karnataka, Sharan Pumpwell had reportedly asked Muslim leaders to issue a fatwa against those involved in illegal cow slaughter and theft.