Himachal Pradesh Police on Saturday intensified its operation to arrest villagers who lynched an alleged cattle smuggler in a fit of rage in Sirmaur district two days back.Noman Akhtar, a resident of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, who was allegedly smuggling cattle along with four others, was beaten to death on Wednesday at a village some 28 km from Nahan town, the district headquarters.His accomplices, who also got injuries in the incident, have been hospitalised at Sarhan in the district."The search operation is on to arrest the accused," Superintendent of Police Somya Sambasivan told IANS.
She said a murder case has been registered. "We will arrest the accused soon. It is probable that the people who alerted the police about the illegal cattle transportation might have killed Noman," she added.The police have booked Noman's accomplices - Gulzar, Gulfam, Mohammad Nishu and Salman - under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.Refuting the allegations of the involvement of any political party behind the incident, the police official said: "We cannot comment on the political affiliation of the assailants."She said Noman, whose medical report confirmed he received "multifarious blunt injuries", was an undertrial in another cattle theft case.Police officials say Sirmaur district, bordering Uttarakhand, is used as a transit route for smuggling cattle from Punjab to Uttar Pradesh. Cases of cattle theft are also common in the district.