Shimla, Oct 18: Himachal Pradesh Police today identified five local youths for their suspected involvement in the lynching of an alleged cow smuggler near Lawasa village in Sirmaur district here and detained six others for questioning in connection with the case.
"We have identified five persons on the basis of messages and pictures flashed by some youths when they captured the five alleged cow smugglers," DSP Yogesh Rotla said.
Police teams have been sent to suspected hideouts but all the accused have switched off their phones, Rotla said, adding that as the accused are locals, they would be nabbed soon.
The police have detained six others for questioning on the basis of information after the incident and their past antecedents are being verified, DGP Sanjay Kumar said.
The DGP also added that the incident was "unfortunate", but is being blown up "out of proportions".
28-year-old Noman Akhtar, a resident of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was lynched by a mob on October 16 while his four accomplices were apprehended by police with the help of local people after nearly four hours of chase of the truck carrying ten oxen and five cows in the forests in Sirmaur district, about 150 km from Shimla.
The incident happened close on the heels of Dadri lynching and drew criticisms, with Vishwa Hindu Parishad blaming the government for "failure" to check smuggling of cows, oxen and other animals to adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh.
VHP's State Organising Secretary Manoj Kumar said the government had failed to check smuggling of cows, and the police was now "targeting" the activists involved in Cow protection.
However, the state's Animal Husbandry Minister Anil Sharma said that the government was committed to protect cows and other cattle, but it was the task of the police to check smuggling of animals.
Expressing concern over the incident, the All-Himachal Muslim Welfare Society has urged the Chief Minister to order a probe into incident.
"No one was above the Constitution and a probe should also be initiated by the Deputy Commissioner, Sirmaur and those involved in this ghastly act of lynching a youth, should be arrested immediately," Naseem Mohammed Diddan, president of the Society said in a statement.
The CPI(M), Congress and political committee of HP United Communist Party of India have condemned the incident and urged the government to ensure that peace in the state was not disturbed.