Alwar lynching: How the case to find Pehlu Khan’s murderers has progressed | Timeline
Dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was mercilessly thrashed in April by cow vigilantes when he was transporting cows for his farm in Alwar, Rajasthan. He died of his injuries two days after the incident at Alwar’s Kailash hospital.
Khan was among the five Muslims beaten up on suspicion of transporting cows for slaughter on April 1 this year. The Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act, 1995 prohibits the export of cows for slaughter and treats the transporter as an abettor.
The 55-year-old dairy farmer gave a statement to the police, in which he named six accused, a day before his death. On Wednesday, the Rajasthan Police closed investigations into six people named by Khan in his statement, sparking backlash.
Here’s a timeline of the case:
April 3: Culpable homicide is changed to murder (section 302) after Khan dies in hospital around 7.30pm.
April 5: Rajasthan police register a murder case against the attackers and announced a reward of Rs 5,000 for anybody providing information on the suspects.
• Om Yadav, Hukum Chand Yadav, Sudhir Yadav, Jagmal Yadav, Naveen Sharma and Rahul Saini are suspects in the FIR. The cases against them fall under sections 147 (rioting), 143 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 308 (culpable homicide), 379 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code.
• Police arrest three people – Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Yadav and Kalu Ram Yadav – on the basis of video footage circulating on social media.
April 6: Details emerge of Pehlu Khan’s statement. He had named members of the RSS-linked Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal as the attackers in his statement to the police.
April 7: Union home ministry received a report from the Rajasthan government which says a special police team has been constituted to arrest all those allegedly involved in the lynching of a Muslim man in Alwar.
• The investigation of the case is transferred from SHO Behror to Alwar’s deputy superintendent of police, Parmal Singh.
• The National Human Rights Commission Seeks explanation from the Rajasthan government on the Alwar attack. Similarly, the Supreme Court asks Centre and five BJP-ruled states to respond within three weeks to a petition seeking a ban on cow protection groups amid growing outrage against the vigilantes accused of widespread violence.
•Days after the saying the incident reported was a lie, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tells Rajya Sabha the lynching happened. He says police has filed FIRs in the case.
April 9: Two more suspects – Dayanand Yadav and Neeraj Yadav – are arrested.
April 16: After a fortnight, 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.
April 20: Sadhvi Kamal, the head of a cow protection group, equates vigilantes to revolutionary freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad and Sukhdev.
April 25: Rajasthan Police says the investigation in the Pehlu Khan lynching is stuck because the attacked men did not come back to record their statements.
April 26: HT investigation finds the family of Pehlu Khan was acquitted of the charge of cow smuggling by two local courts, contrary to claims by the Rajasthan home minister that they were cow smugglers.
May 3: The Alwar police detained a 17-year-old boy for allegedly being one of the people who assaulted Pehlu Khan on April 1. The minor is sent to a government observational and child home in Alwar.
May 11: The chief officer leading the investigation is shifted amid mounting criticism of the slow progress of the case.
May 30: Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje admits that recent crimes against minorities in the state show Rajasthan in a bad light. She says firm action will be taken against those behind the violence.
June 12: A mob intercepts five trucks near Rajasthan’s Barmer, attacking drivers and attempting to set fire to the vehicles carrying cows purchased by Tamil Nadu under a project to protect cows.
July: The case is transferred to the criminal investigation department- crime branch (CID-CB) of the Rajasthan police. This is the fourth instance in a little more than three months when the investigating officer has been changed.
August 31: Rajasthan high court grants bail to 19-year-old Vipin Yadav, one of the seven men arrested for the lynching of Khan.
Yadav, a student leader, is the fifth person to get bail in the case. Only two other accused are behind bars now.
September 13: Police close investigations into six people named by Khan before his death, sparking allegations that the authorities are under pressure to protect cow vigilante suspects.
The police have cleared the men based on statements by staff of a cow shelter, and mobile phone tower signal records.