Karnataka lynching: Accused uses electric stungun on cow vigilante outings

Weeks before the brutal murder of Idrees Pasha in Ramanagara, the accused shot a video of himself using a stun gun on another cattle trader. In the present case, he boasted in a video about how he was carrying an ‘item’.
Puneeth Kerehalli, accused of killing Idrees Pasha in Karnataka
Puneeth Kerehalli, accused of killing Idrees Pasha in Karnataka
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Idrees Pasha, the victim of the brutal lynching in Karnataka’s Ramanagara district, has black marks on his body resembling burn injuries, the police said, leading to suspicion that he was tortured with electric shocks from a stun gun or a taser before he died. Pasha, who was a cattle trader, was chased, assaulted, and killed on March 31 in Sathanur village in Kanakapura taluk, allegedly by a gang of Hindutva extremists who have been terrorising cattle traders in the region. Police have booked four people including Puneeth Kerehalli, a cow vigilante who has been photographed with top leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Puneeth has shot and published videos of himself ‘confronting’ cattle traders on his social media pages, and in one of the videos posted just a few days before Pasha’s murder, Puneeth is seen using a stun gun on a cattle trader to inflict pain.

The video from March 20 this year shows Puneeth and his associates stopping a truck carrying cattle in the outskirts of Bengaluru. Puneeth is seen ‘confronting’ and insulting a man named Waseem (a.k.a Aleemullah Baig), who is lying in a hammock inside the truck. Throughout the encounter, Puneeth assaults Waseem with a stun gun, while Waseem pleads innocence and says he took up the transportation job due to financial troubles at home.

TNM has learned that Puneeth then filed a complaint against Waseem and another person with the Electronic City police under the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020. Police officials said that Waseem was involved in transporting cattle from Mysuru to Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, and that they were unaware then of the Facebook Live video that Puneeth had posted. The matter will be looked into soon, they added.

This incident, combined with Puneeth’s Facebook Live video on the night of Idrees Pasha’s murder where he boasts that he was carrying an ‘item’, has raised suspicions that Puneeth and his associates tortured Pasha with a stun gun. In his video on the night of the murder, Puneeth is speaking to one of his associates who says he is ‘frustrated that two people had escaped’ — referring to the two people in the truck with Pasha who were also attacked but managed to escape from the vigilante mob. At this point, Puneeth wonders why his associates left him alone there and didn’t think about their escaped victims coming from the other side. He exclaims, “No problem though, I had the ‘item’ with me.”

Meanwhile, Ramanagara SP Karthik Reddy clarified that the video in which Puneeth is using the electric stun gun does not feature the murdered Pasha. “There is a lot of confusion. The video that is doing the rounds where he is tasing someone is not related to our incident. Many people are saying that the person being tased in the video is Pasha, that is not true,” he said.

The situation has been tense in Sathanur village and surrounding areas since the murder of Idrees Pasha last week. The family members of the deceased claim that Puneeth and his colleagues were cow vigilantes and that they demanded a payment of Rs 2 lakh to release Pasha. They even threatened to kill him if the payment was not received. Four people including Puneeth have been booked under sections 302 (murder), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code.

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