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Two Meerut Based Meat Suppliers Killed in 'Ambush by Militants', Father Alleges Conspiracy

“My sons have been killed under a conspiracy. They were not involved in any cattle smuggling. This is a false narrative being implicated in justifying their killing,” the grieving father alleges.

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Lucknow: Two Muslim meat suppliers were killed in an “ambush by militants” in Kokrajhar district of Assam early on Tuesday, where the duo were being taken for “further investigation”, days after Uttar Pradesh police arrested them for alleged cow slaughter, officials said.

Two of them, identified as Meerut residents Akbar Banjara and Salman Banjara, were wanted in several cases there. One of two, Akbar Banjara, carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head in the north-eastern state for cow slaughtering. According to Assam police, the duo were accused of allegedly running an “international cattle smuggling syndicate” and having links with militant groups in the northeast.

“On April 13, the UP police had nabbed both of them from Meerut and handed them over to Assam police. There were multiple cases against them. A case was registered at the Gossaigaon Police Station. The investigation revealed that the two had links to militant groups,” Kokrajhar SP Prateek Thube told reporters.

“During interrogation, they had revealed that cattle from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal and Assam were being smuggled to Bangladesh via Meghalaya,” an officer said.

According to an Assam police officer, the attack took place around 1:30 am when the two were being taken to the Jomduar area of the district by police personnel for identification of smuggling routes along the Sankosh river. The officer claimed that the police vehicle carrying the duo “came under firing from militants”, following which the cops jumped out of the vehicle.

The Assam police personnel retaliated, following which gunfire exchanges continued between the two sides for 10-12 minutes. “The two cattle smugglers were hit by bullets during the militant ambush. They were declared dead while being taken to Saraibeel Primary Health Centre in another vehicle,” the officer said, adding that four cops were injured during the ambush.

One AK-47 rifle, two magazines, 35 rounds of live ammunition and 28 rounds of empty bullet shells were recovered from the site.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (SP) rural Keshav Kumar said, “Both Banjara brothers were arrested on April 13 by local police. Later a group of Assam police landed here with a B-warrant and took custody of Banjara and his brother Salman. The team informed us that Banjara had multiple cases of animal trafficking against him and was wanted in the Kokrajhar district. He used to supply prohibited meat to many states from Assam.”

Haji Piru Banjara, the deceased’s father, demanded a thorough probe into his son’s death and sought their burial at their ancestral graveyard in Falawada village of Meerut district.

“My sons have been killed under a conspiracy. They were not involved in any cattle smuggling. This is a false narrative being implicated in justifying their killing. Earlier I used to run a cattle business in Assam, which my sons later took over due to my old age. Even if they were guilty, there is a court to decide their crime but the government is ruling on guns,” said Piru.

He has alleged that the influential people associated with the cattle smuggling business got his sons killed due to fear of being exposed in the court.

Apart from two cases in Assam, there were no criminal cases against his sons. They had nothing to do with the truck caught in Falavada, but the cow slaughter case registered against them was false, alleged the deceased's father.

Four family members have been sent to Assam to collect the bodies of both the sons. However, their post-mortem has not been done there yet.

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