Ex-IAS officers write to Raje, demand arrest of Pehlu Khan’s killers, end of cow vigilantism
The former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers said that the “post facto delays” in acting against the attackers “reflected the inefficacy” of the Raje government.india Updated: Jul 19, 2017 18:06 IST
Twenty-three former IAS officers have written an open letter to Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje demanding the arrest of all those who attacked a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Haryana in the state’s Alwar district, and “end all vigilantism in the name of cow protection”.
The former bureaucrats, including Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Arun Kumar, Aruna Roy and Wajahat Habibullah, said they were disturbed by the lynching and murder of Pehlu Khan, and added that “this kind of vigilantism, if not checked, will lead to large-scale violence”. They also demanded punishment for police and administrative personnel for dereliction of duty in the letter written on April 23.
“We are dismayed by the acts of omission and commission of the government following the incident, including the delay and marked reluctance in arresting those guilty of the act,” the bureaucrats have written.
“While one may have differing sentiments on the importance of cows, and their slaughter or consumption, the killing of Pehlu Khan by an arbitrary self-appointed group of vigilantes shows how much we have succeeded in undermining the principles and values on which we have based our nation,” they said.
Khan and four other dairy farmers were attacked by alleged cow vigilantes on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway on April 1 when they were returning to Nuh, their village, after buying cows from the weekly cattle market in Jaipur. He died in hospital 2 days later while others were discharged and taken to other hospitals in Haryana and Delhi.
The police have named 6 people in the FIR lodged in connection with the case but have failed to arrest anyone so far. However, they have arrested 6 others, identified from the videos of the attack that were circulated on social media.
The former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers said that the “post facto delays” in acting against the attackers “reflected the inefficacy” of the Raje government.
Chief minister Raje, who is active on social media, is yet to break her silence on the issue.
The letter said that “a reprehensible attempt on the part of certain people in authority in Rajasthan as well as in the Union government to deny this horrific incident or to minimise its gravity” have made them complicit in the crime with their “inaction and silence”.
The reference was to Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria’s statement a few days after Khan’s death, saying that the dairy farmers were cow smugglers. The minister repeated the charge in Rajasthan assembly on Monday.
The former IAS officers have urged Raje to take a decisive action on “the dying statement of Khan”.
“The culprits must be arrested to restore the faith of the victims’ families and their communities in the system of justice in the country. The failure to take immediate action at this juncture will amount to a mockery of good governance and the rule of law and will inevitably lead to anarchy,” they have written.
A number of activists from Left parties, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and labour organisations are staging a 3-day dharna from Monday outside the Vidhan Sabha criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Rajasthan for giving cow vigilantes a free run in the state.