May 18 2015 : Mirror (Mumbai)

Beef ban fallout: Police harass woman carrying meat for 1 hr

A 54-year-old woman has alleged that she was detained by the police on the GoaMaharashtra border, ha rassed and grilled for an hour as they thought she was carrying beef.She says she was carrying pork for her pregnant daughter who lives in Andheri.

The woman’s son-in-law has written to the chief minister, the chief secretary, the director general of the police and other top officials. Mumbai Mirror has a copy of the mail.Sherry Pereira, was travelling in a Laxmi bus with her 76-year-old mother and ailing brother when the bus was suddenly stopped by police and forest officials at Kharepaten check post in Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra at 2 am on Sunday.

Moments after the bus stopped, the cleaner of the bus called Pereira as the cops wanted to talk to her. The police asked her what she had in her bag. When she retorted she had nothing objectionable with her, they accused her of carrying beef.

After waiting for sometime the cleaner of bus called Pereira and asked her to come down as cops wanted to talk to her. One policeman then started asking her what was she carrying in her bag. Pereira told him that she wasn’t carrying anything objectionable. He started grilling her and alleged that she was carrying beef.

“I told the cop that my daughter, who is nine months pregnant, had asked me to get Goan pork sausages for her as she is quite fond of it. I added that’s what I had in my bag; besides coconut oil and that we should be allowed to leave. He threatened that he is a forest official and that carrying any kind of meat is illegal and I would be jailed for committing the crime,“ Pereira told Mirror.

She further said, “He even told me that he would put me in lock-up and produce me in court the next day. He then asked me to accompany him to a shady room in a desolate area and made me wait for a long time. He later came back asking what price I would be willing to pay. Shocked to hear this, I pleaded with him and told him that my mother and brother are in the bus. He finally agreed to settle the issue if I paid him Rs 2,000.“

When Pereira refused to pay, the infuriated cop threatened her once again. He finally came to a negotiation and told Pereira Rs 500 would do. Pereira, scared by then, got up on the bus to get the money. “I believe that they had other venomous intentions as well but when they found out I was with more people, he changed his plans,“ said Pereira.

A furious Ian Banerjee, Pereira’s son-inlaw, said: “We have been travelling to Goa and back for a long time now but after this beef ban the cops are using it as a tool to extort people and harass women. This is extremely shocking and disturbing. This malpractice must come to the limelight and the cops should be punished.“

“I will check into the matter and take appropriate action,“said Special Inspector General of Police, Prashant Burde, Konkan Range.

Pranay Salgaonkar, owner of Laxmi travels said: “This is an illegal check post put up by the policemen at Khadeparten to extort money from passengers and travel agencies.“

“They harass and threaten customers accusing them of smuggling liquor from Goa and now they are using beef ban to extort money from innocent people.“