Rakbar Khan’s family slams 7-year jail term for four accused, vows to continue fight

May 26, 2023 06:18 AM IST

“The decision has brought some peace to us, but we intend to go to the Supreme Court to get justice,” said Rakbar’s brother

Jaipur: Family members of Rakbar Khan, the 28-year-old man from Haryana’s Nuh who was fatally assaulted in Alwar by a vigilante group claiming to work for protection of cows in 2018, have said that they will appeal against the decision that handed down prison terms of seven years to four accused, and acquitted the fifth.

Rakbar Khan (File photo)
Rakbar Khan (File photo)

Khan’s family said the ruling did not amount to justice being done since they “have been convicted not for murder, but for culpable homicide”, adding that the acquittal was of the man who led the killer mob.

“Our family is unhappy with the court’s decision as the punishment that has been given is not commensurate with the scale of the crime,” said Saddeek Khan, the grandfather of the deceased.

On July 21, 2018, Rakbar Khan and his friend Aslam, 32, had travelled to Lalawandi in Rajasthan to purchase two cows to expand their milk business. They were bringing the cows back to their village in Haryana when they came under attack by a mob that alleged they were cow smugglers.

Aslam escaped in the cover of darkness but Rakbar Khan was caught, assaulted, and turned over to police, who were accused by the family of delaying taking him to the hospital. He succumbed to his injuries, leaving behind a wife and seven children.

“It was murder. We believe that section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) under which they were punished is not correct. There should have been a harsher sentence,” said Khan’s brother Harun.

Harun also said that the family was disappointed that the man they saw as the leader of the mob, local VHP leader and then head of the Ramgarh Gau Raksha Cell Sharma, had been acquitted.

In September 2019, the Alwar court had rejected the plea of Rakbar Khan’s wife Akseena for Naval Kishore Sharma and another man named Suresh to be summoned as accused. The family had then gone to the Rajasthan High Court, which directed the trial court not to pass a final decision till it disposed of the family’s plea.

Later, Kishore was named as an accused in the case.

“It is disappointing that Kishore has not been punished. The decision has brought some peace to us, but we intend to go to the Supreme Court to get justice,” Harun Khan added.

Read: In Alwar lynching incident, police admit to 'error of judgement'

Kishore has maintained that it was he who alerted the police about the attack, and handed over the injured Khan to them.

Hemraj Gupta, the lawyer representing the accused, said during the judicial inquiry, police officers were found to be responsible in negligence of handling Rakbar, due to which he succumbed to his injuries and died. “It was also stated in the judicial inquiry that the prime eyewitness, Aslam, never named any accused during the investigation. We will file an appeal in the high court,” he said.

Political parties also reacted to the judgement, with BJP Alwar MP alleging that the conviction was a result of the “appeasement politics” of the Congress. “They did not follow proper procedure and I believe the police is hiding evidence which proves the four men innocent. The state government failed to get punishment to accused in serial bomb blast case in Jaipur and now intentionally is trying to trap gau sevaks,” Balaknath said.

Congress spokesperson RC Choudhary rejected the charge and said: “ The BJP has no issues or agenda, besides polarisation.”

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