Hindutva extremist Puneeth demanded Rs 1 lakh, used stun gun on cattle transporters (The News Minute)

Puneeth Kerehalli and his associates assaulted and tortured the cattle transporters when they said that they couldn't afford the demanded amount.

By  Shivani Kava

Following the arrest of Puneeth Kerehalli, accused in the murder of the cattle transporter Idrees Pasha in Karnataka’s Ramanagara, two more persons have come forward alleging that he assaulted them and attempted to extort money. The victims, Rafeeq and Aleemulla Baig, who are cattle transporters too, mustered the courage to lodge a complaint against the group of Hindutva extremists led by Puneeth after they heard the news of his arrest on April 5. The alleged cow vigilante attack occurred on March 20 when the two cattle transporters were ambushed by the Hindutva extremists near Electronic City in Bengaluru. The attackers accused them of illegal cattle transportation and demanded a hefty sum of Rs 1 lakh for their release. When Rafeeq and Aleemulla said that they were unable to pay the extortion amount, they were subjected to assault and torture by the perpetrators.

Fearing reprisal, the cattle transporters initially refrained from reporting the assault to the police. Aleemulla filed a formal complaint with the Bengaluru police on April 6, detailing the gruesome assault and naming Puneeth and his associates as the perpetrators. He said, “We were scared to even tell the police about the assault. I didn’t want to make it a big issue. Once I saw the news of his arrest, I was relieved and decided to file a complaint.” The police have registered a case against Puneeth and his associates under charges of assault, wrongful restraint, criminal intimidation, and other relevant sections of the law.

TNM spoke to the cattle transporters who revealed allegations that were not part of the FIR. The victims said that Puneeth initially demanded Rs 1 lakh for letting them go. He confiscated their van’s key and phone and used a stun gun on Aleemulla (the helper on the van) while verbally abusing them. “He insisted that I pay him Rs 1 lakh, but I told him that I couldn’t afford it. Then, they attacked me and prevented me from leaving the van,” Rafeeq, the van’s driver said…

This story was originally published in thenewsminute.com. Read the full story here

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