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Friday, October 7, 2022

Assam: Cattle smuggler Md. Mondal killed, BSF jawan injured in gunfight

A gun battle between BSF and cattle smugglers at Assam’s South Salmara-Mankachar district early on Tuesday resulted in one dead smuggler and serious injuries to one BSF jawan. The incident took place past midnight at the Dipchar border outpost along the Indo-Bangladesh border when the smugglers were trying to cross over with cattle.

The cattle smugglers opened fire on BSF when they were challenged, following which the border force retaliated. The deceased smuggler has been identified as 23-year-old Mohammed Mondal, resident of Mondal Para in Mankachar police station area. Last month, BSF had apprehended drug trafficker Suleman Islam (33) from the same South Salmara-Mankachar district. Unfortunately, no media outlet has provided the name of the injured BSF jawan.

Also on Tuesday morning, a team of Chhaygaon police in Kamrup district of the state nabbed three smugglers – Samad Ali (37), Saiful Islam (27), Salimuddin (26) – who were transporting nine cattle illegally.

On Wednesday, Chhaygaon police arrested three more cattle smugglers – Rafiqul Miya (25), Mahibul Islam (30), Devaraj Das (20) – illegally transporting 10 cattle in a small pick up.

In December last year, the Assam government told the state assembly that 1,668 people have been arrested from various districts of the state in connection with cattle smuggling in the last five years. More than 21,700 smuggled cattle heads were recovered during the period.

427 cattle smugglers were arrested in South Salmara-Mankachar district, followed by 266 in Dhubri and 255 in Nagaon. South Salmara-Mankachar district was carved out of the old Dhubri district – an AIUDF stronghold with 80% Muslim population as per Census 2011.

Deadly cattle smuggling mafia

Away from the salubrious environs of Lutyens’ Delhi, the deadly cattle smuggling mafia with deep roots all across the country poses a relentless threat to ordinary citizens, police and security forces. The smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh is especially profitable. Lakhs of cattle are smuggled every year across the porous border via WB, Assam and other NE states – the annual turnover of this racket is estimated at Rs. 20,000 crore! One of the masterminds of this racket, Md. Enamul Haque has a net-worth of Rs. 1000 crore – which would put him in the top 3000 wealthiest people in the country.

Larger breeds of cattle from UP and Haryana are especially prized in the Bangladesh market, so just imagine what those poor animals are put through, smuggled over 1000s of kms crammed into trucks and other transport. And its not just cattle but drugs, arms and other contraband is also smuggled along this 4096 km long border.

In recent years, the smuggling has come down to some extent due to improved patrolling and fencing of the border. But the scale of operations is still mind-boggling. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is currently probing the links between cattle smugglers and a section of officers in the administration, BSF, Customs and political higher-ups in the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Dozens of policemen and BSF personnel have laid down their lives in fighting this mafia, not to mention the countless villagers and other ordinary citizens who have lost their lives while trying to protect their livestock.

Do the names of BSF Deputy Commandant Deepak Mondal, or BSF Inspector Sanjay Kumar Sadhu ring a bell? Probably not. Now consider the names Pehlu Khan and Mohammed Akhlaq.

That is how relentless propaganda works and distorts reality.

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