By Manoj Pathak
Patna, Sep 28 (IANS): The Jadopur police station in Bihar's Gopalganj district is on the horns of a dilemma. It has two bullocks in its custody and they stand charged with the crime of pulling a cart from which the state's Anti-Liquor Task Force (ALTF) seized contraband liquor on January 25, 2022, the Republic Day eve.
The cart is evidence for the prosecution and so are the bullocks in this case of violation of Bihar's Prohibition laws. As a result, they were handed over to the police station because the seizure took place at the Rampur Tengrahi village, which falls within the jurisdiction of the police station.
On the basis of a statement recorded by the then police station in-charge, Mithilesh Prasad Singh, an FIR was registered, and the hapless bullocks were seized along with the cart.
Now, there's no law that tells the police how to deal with bovines in lockup, nor do they have a budget to feed bullocks with healthy appetites.
For a few days, the bullocks stayed in the police station premises and then they were taken in by a good-hearted farmer in the village who took pity on the forlorn creatures.
Even as the police and the local administration were ruminating over likely ways out of the prickly problem, the district magistrate decided to take the bull by the horns. He ordered that the two animals as well as the cart be auctioned away.
The base price was fixed at Rs 60,000, but despite two auction dates passing by over the past eight months, there's been no taker for either the bullocks or the cart.
So, the bullocks continue to be in the custody of the kind-hearted farmer, but his big fear now is that if anything untoward happens to the animals, which are now the property of the state, he may end up having the long arm of the law around his neck.
The local superintendent of the state's prohibition, excise and registration department, Rakesh Kumar, has assured IANS that no effort is being spared to have the bullocks and the carts disposed of in an auction.
Till the animals find a buyer, they will continue to be the guests of the farmer, who's getting increasingly uneasy about the arrangement fraught with risks. Will his act of kindness become a noose around his neck?