Alwar lynching: Rajasthan civil society decries clean chit to 6 named by Pehlu Khan
In an open letter to chief minister Vasundhara Raje they accused the government of being insensitive towards the murder case.Updated: Sep 15, 2017 12:20 IST
Several civil society organisations in Rajasthan reacted strongly to the clean chit given to the six people who had been named by Haryana dairy farmer Pehlu Khan before he died of injuries sustained in an attack by cow vigilantes in Alwar.
The organisations in an open letter to chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Friday protested the police’s move to absolve the six of the criminal charges and also demanded closure of cow smuggling cases against Khan’s family and others.
The CID-CB of Rajasthan police in its investigation into the Alwar lynching case found that the six people named in Khan’s statement given at the ICU of a hospital were not involved in the attack.
Police closed cases against these men on the basis of their call detail records and testimonies of workers of a cow shelter, HT reported on Thursday.
Khan, 55, was attacked by the alleged cow vigilantes on April 1 at Behror in Alwar on Jaipur-Delhi national highway when he and five others were transporting cattle bought from a weekly market in Jaipur to their village in Nuh, Haryana.
Khan died in the hospital on April 3.
In the open letter to the CM, the organisations said by giving clean chit to the six men the Rajasthan government and police showed that it patronised violence unleashed by gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes).
“It is now clear that the investigation was transferred from district police to the CID-CB only to save these men charged with Khan’s murder,” the letter said.
The clean chit given to the six also generated a lot of political heat in the state as mob violence targeting mostly Muslims in the name of protection of cows, considered sacred by most Hindus, swelled in the country since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.
Criticising the Rajasthan police’s move, the Congress said it would take up the Pehlu Khan murder case to the Supreme Court, which is hearing the party’s Gau Raksha PIL on September 22.
The organisations also took serious exception to state home minister Gulan Chand Kataria’s earlier remark that Khan was not a dairy farmer but a cow smuggler.
“Your government has been insensitive towards the Pehlu Khan case,” the civil society activists said, adding, “Instead of condemning the heinous crime of murder by gau rakshaks, he (the home minister) lauded them, and only added that they shouldn’t have taken law in their own hands.”
In the given scenario, they said, it was questionable that the probe into the case would be impartial.
The open letter further points out that while the named murder accused are out of the purview of the probe, the “fake cow smuggling case” against Khan, his sons and others (FIR Nos. 252/2017 and 253/2017 at Behror police station) are still on. Khan and others had valid cattle purchase documents, it added.
“Six men named by Khan have been let off and charges brought against nine others are so weak that most of them have already got bail,” said Bhanwar Meghwanshi, a Dalit activist who has signed the letter.
Kavita Srivastav of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said the organisation will provide legal aid to Khan’s sons Azmat and Rafique to challenge the police’s findings in a court.
“It was surprising that even though the Supreme Court had taken a strong view on mob violence in the name of cow protection and sought actions against such vigilantes, your government seems to have decided to take no action against organisations that spread hate and indulge in violence especially against Muslims,” the letter said.
Quoting an article written by Raje in an English daily on July 27, there is a mismatch between what she wrote about the mob violence and her intention and political will.
“If you really want to send out a strong message against mob lynchings, take action against the killers of Khan and Zafar Khan (of Prataprgarh) instead of shedding crocodile tears through newspaper articles,” the activists wrote.
Pratapgarh municipality employees beat Zafar Khan to death for allegedly trying to stop them from scaring women defecating in the open and taking their photographs earlier this year.
First Published: Sep 15, 2017 12:20 IST