Friday, August 19, 2016

His Friend, A BJP Worker, Killed By Udupi Cow Vigilantes

It's tough for Akshay Devadiga to lie in his hospital bed - his back has a maze of lurid blue bruises. His arms are wrapped in parts in bandages. But at least he is alive. The cow vigilantes who attacked his friend and him in Karnataka's Udupi district were unsparing, their sharpened pieces of iron and rods creating injuries so serious that Praveen Poojari, a BJP worker, died four hours later.

Mr Devadiga, 20, and Mr Poojari, 29, were driving three young male calves for a man who had bought the cattle. They were stopped and accused of intended cow slaughter, illegal in Karnataka like in so many other states.

Mr Devadiga, who was cleared by his doctors to talk to NDTV, said, "There were lots of people, I don't know how many. They began hitting us. I fell down."

18 men have been arrested -all from the Hindu Jagrana Vedike, a relatively new right-wing group in the area. The men knew Mr Poojari well and often visited his chicken-selling shop, the police said.

"I knew Praveen from the time I was a child," said Mr Devadiga. "He was a good man."

His mother, Savitha, broke down, using the pallu of her sari to wipe her eyes, struggling as her only child winced with pain. "This should not have happened," said Mr Devadiga's father, Bhaskar. "This kind of thing has never happened before in this place."

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