SURKHET, Sep 5: A probe committee formed by Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan City has started investigating the death of two dozen Dailekh bound cows after reportedly being pushed off cliffs along the road.
Eight trucks carrying up to 370 cows had dropped the animals off at various points in Surkhet between Birendranagar and Katuwa. Some cows were pushed off the trucks and over the cliffs. According to the authorities, 26 cows were killed.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and police in Karnali Province have also formed separate committees to investigate the incident, following a public outcry. The cow is worshiped as a sacred animal by the dominant Hindu community in Nepal.
The probe committee formed by the local government under Bikash Acharya made inquiries with government officials and members of the Shreesthan temple management committee in Dailekh on Tuesday. Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan City officials claimed that the cows were taken to Shresthan temple so that they could graze on some barren land there.
Spokesperson for the probe committee Basanta Gautam said they interrogated officials from Narayan Municipality, Bhairabi Rural Municipality and the temple management committee, among others.
These officials said they had never agreed to the relocation of the cows, according to sources .
“No one here ordered that the cows be moved. We have demanded with the probe committee to mete out strong punishment to those involved in pushing the cows off the cliffs ,” said head priest of Shreesthan temple Gokarna Nath Yogi.
The probe committee formed by the police has also started its work but another committee formed by the Home Ministry under Sagarmani Pathak is yet to turn up at the incident cite.
SP Bhola Rawal is leading the probe committee formed by the police. The investigation started with the number of cows that passed through the local police check posts . “Our investigation is focused on internal policing. We will take action if any personnel are found to be at fault,” said DIG Purnachandra Joshi, police chief in the province.
After herds of abandoned cattle entered Nepal from India through the open border, Nepalgunj authorities had set up shelters for the bovines. But after the number exceeded 2,000 they said they decided to relocate some of them to the hill district of Dailakh. Police have detained five trucks used for transporting the cows and the drivers following media reports on the death of the cows.