Almost a fortnight after Pehlu Khan, the 55-year-old dairy farmer from Nuh in Haryana, was murdered in Alwar, the Rajasthan police say they will not arrest the six named in the FIR before interrogating them to make sure they were involved in the crime.
Alwar superintendent of police Rahul Prakash said they were raiding various places to nab the six people named in Khan’s FIR because they are absconding since April 5 but added that they would only be detained for interrogation.
“We will arrest them only after we are sure that they were involved in the crime,” he told HT.
Earlier, on April 5, Prakash announced a reward of Rs 5,000 each on the six accused for information leading to their arrests.
The FIR in the murderous attack on Khan and four others was registered against six named and 200 unidentified people on the basis of Khan’s statement to police around 11pm on April 1 when the farmer was in the intensive care unit of Kailash Hospital in Behror in Alwar.
In his statement, Khan named Om Yadav (45), Hukum Chand Yadav (44), Sudhir Yadav (45), Jagmal Yadav (73), Naveen Sharma (48) and Rahul Saini (24) for carrying the attack on him and four others with him carrying cattle from a weekly market in Jaipur to their village in Nuh.
On the basis of Khan’s statement, police registered a case against these six and 200 others under sections 147 (rioting), 143 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 308 (culpable homicide), 379 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code. On April 3, section 308 was changed to that of murder (section 302) after Khan died in hospital around 7.30pm.
On April 5, police arrested three people – Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Yadav and Kalu Ram Yadav – on the basis of video footage circulating on social media. Two more people – Dayanand Yadav and Neeraj Yadav – were arrested on April 9.
These five were not named in the FIR.
Saddam Hussain, president of Mewat Yuva Sanghtan, alleged that police were soft on the named accused because of their affiliations with right-wing Hindu organizations. “Either there is pressure from the government to not arrest them or police are not trying hard enough,” he said.
The sangthan took out a silent march in Alwar on April 10 to protest the lynching and demand immediate arrest of the culprits.
According to local sources in Behror, Naveen Sharma is associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Hukum Yadav with Hindu Dharma Jagran and Rahul Saini with the student wing of RSS, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
A Behror local said Sudhir Yadav is often in the news for his action against cow smugglers in and around the town. “Jagmal Yadav is patron of the gau shala (cow shelter) where Pehlu Khan’s cattle were taken after they were booked for cow smuggling. Yadav has been involved in the gau shala for about eight years after he retired as a government schoolteacher in Haryana,” the local added.