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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Alwar lynching victim ‘beaten’ up by cops, taken to hospital three hours after complaint, says eyewitnesses

Eyewitnesses have alleged that Rakbar Khan was dead by the time he was taken to a health centre over three hours after police were informed about the attack.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2018 13:33 IST
Jaykishan Sharma
Jaykishan Sharma
Hindustan Times, Alwar
Rakbar Khan’s wife mourns his death, in Gurugram. Khan was lynched by cow vigilantes in Alwar.
Rakbar Khan’s wife mourns his death, in Gurugram. Khan was lynched by cow vigilantes in Alwar. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

The Rajasthan police on Sunday said it would look into allegations that a delay in taking Rakbar Khan, 31, to a hospital could have contributed to his death after suspected cow vigilantes attacked him in Alwar’s Ramgarh on Friday night.

Eyewitnesses have alleged that Khan was dead by the time he was taken to a health centre over three hours after police were informed about the attack, and at least two people accused the police of beating Khan -- a charge denied by the Rajasthan police.

“During the investigation, if we find any administrative goof-ups, we will take necessary action,” said deputy superintendent of police Aneel Kumar.

Alwar superintendent of police Rajendra Singh told HT that they were investigating the matter and have arrested three people so far. “If any official is found misleading the investigation, then we will take necessary action against them.”

He said initial investigation suggests that a large number of villagers were not involved in the incident. “If you will see the spot of the incident, it is a few metres from a farm, where we doubt the presence of a large group of people. Further investigation will reveal the facts.”

But ruling Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Ramgarh lawmaker Gyan Dev Ahuja demanded a judiciary inquiry, while accusing the police of beating Khan. “They (the accused) slapped the cow smuggler a bit and informed the police. My sources told me that police took the smuggler to custody and thrashed him with lathis to show people that they are taking strict action,” he alleged.

Naval Kishore Sharma, 43, who claims to be a gopalak (cattle rearer) with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and an eyewitness, backed Ahuja’s version. “Police beat them at the police station also, leading to his (Khan)’s death, and took him to Ramgarh community health centre at 4am where doctors declared him dead on arrival.” He alleged the police took Khan to the police station first.

Sharma said that a local, Dharmendra Yadav, called him 15 minutes past midnight, informing him that villagers were beating a cow smuggler. He added that he informed the police at 12.30am and accompanied them to the spot in Lalavandi forests, where they found Khan drenched in mud after the attack.

He said that at around 3am, Yadav and Paramjeet Singh helped load the two cows Khan was taking to his village in Haryana.

“I took them (the cows) to a nearby gaushala (cow shelter), handed them over around 3.15 am and reached Ramgarh police station around 3.40 am. Dharmendra and Paramjeet went with the police in their jeep,” he said.

Sharma alleged that Yadav and Paramjeet Singh were arrested even though they helped the police. “They are innocent,” he said, accusing the police of framing Yadav and Paramjeet Singh in the case.

Maya Sharma, a woman from Lalavandi village, the scene of the attack, said commotion on Friday woke her up. “I saw the police kicking a man (Khan) lying in mud and abusing him. When I went there to see what was happening, they told me to go away,” she said.

But the police denied the allegations. Assistant superintendent of police Anil Beniwal said a team was rushed to the scene around 1am when they were informed that vigilantes were beating up Khan over cow smuggling suspicions.

Eyewitness Sharma said police beat Rakbar in his presence.

Yadav and Paramjeet were booked for unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint, voluntarily causing hurt and murder on Saturday. Another accused, Naresh Singh, was arrested on Sunday on the same charges.

First Published: Jul 22, 2018 23:22 IST