A 61-year-old cattle trader, Hussainabba, was found dead, in Udupi on Wednesday, under mysterious circumstances. While the police claim they received a tip-off of a cattle trader illegally transporting animals, and then later in the day discovered his corpse, the family claims the Bajrang Dal had a hand in his death.
According to Hussainabba’s family, the Bajrang Dal had been keeping an eye on him for a long time, even forcing him to drink cow urine once in 2015.
The police said that they received a tip-off at around 4.30 am on Wednesday that 12 calves were being illegally transported in a Scorpio, from Perdoor to Udupi.
They set out to catch the vehicle at Shenarbettu, near Perdoor. “But upon spotting the police, the driver of the car got nervous. He started driving in reverse, and then lost control of the vehicle, before pulling to an abrupt halt. All four occupants of the car jumped out and began running - while three took off in one direction, Hussainabba started running in a different direction,” a police official said.
The police also claim to have found 12 cattle inside the vehicle, of which two were dead.
Later on Wednesday, at around 11 am, the Hiriyadka police was informed of a corpse lying at Shenarbettu. The police rushed to the spot and shifted the body to Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, where the body was identified as Hussainabba.
But the victim’s family has dismissed the police version of events. Hussainabba’s brother-in-law, Shekunhi, said said that the deceased was a well-known cattle trader in Jokatte and Surathkal, and had a license for his trade from the village panchayat. According to Shekunhi, both cattle rearers and buyers coordinated with Hussainabba for their businesses.
"But he has been on the Bajrang Dal's radar for a long time. Two years ago, Hussainabba was tied-up and forced to drink cow urine by the same group," Shekunhi alleged.
He further alleged that Hussainabba’s vehicle was probably detained by Bajrang Dal activists. “Later, the police and the Bajrang Dal activists must have beaten him up to death. How else can one explain the injuries around his eyes and head? Since he already had a heart problem, he might have died while attempting to escape from his attackers,” he added.
While the Hiriyadka police have registered a case for illegal cattle trading, acknowledging the family allegations the officials have also registered a case of murder. Meanwhile, Hussainabba's body is being kept in the morgue for further investigation.