City animal activists, with the help of police, rescued 100 animals meant for illegal slaughterhouses in across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai in the past week. On Friday, police from Koangaon, Shantinagar and Shahpur and members of NGO People for Animals rescued bullocks, cows and calves, which were being transported in trucks and tempos to illegal slaughterhouses, including in Govandi, Bhiwandi and Kurla.
“Over 48 animals were saved on Friday. At Shahpur, a truck had crammed as many as 30 animals and the one at Koangaon in Thane had 18. However, many died due to suffocation and were trampled upon,” said Chetan Sharma, activist, People for Animals. The rescued animals are in a shelter in Asangaon near Bhiwandi. India has strict regulations on how animals can be transported. “There is a strong cattle mafia which completely disregard the law. The authorities must take a stand,” said Ambika Hiranandani, Advocate, People for Animals.
Butchers in Deonar have closed down their slaughterhouses in protest. Allegedly, they have also threatened the activists. Sharma alleged that on Friday, he was threatened by a group of 30 to 40 unidentified people, who allegedly run the cattle mafia in and around the vicinity, after he approached the Koangaon police station to lodge an official complaint. “Several vehicles began following my car on our way back from Koangaon police station. Although I was accompanied by two police constables, we were forced to hide inside Shantinagar police station until the vehicles disappeared,” added Sharma.
“There are over 200 licensed slaughter houses meant for cow, bullock and calves in Deonar. More than 350 workers working at these slaughter houses will be rendered jobless due to lesser number of animals being supplied,” said Riyaz Ahmed Qureshi, contractor of slaughterhouses in Deonar and who is part of the protest.
Nineteen year-old Irfan Qureshi (19), resident of Kurla and driver of tempo MH-04-FP-3774, has been arrested. “There were 18 bulls in his tempo. An FIR has been lodged at our police station,” said Senior police inspector, DG Bondre, Koangaon police station.