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We won’t let you pay tribute to Pehlu Khan: Hindu groups confront activists in Rajasthan

Pehlu Khan’s lynching is back in focus as report shows police had closed investigations into six men named by the dairy farmer as his assailants

india Updated: Sep 15, 2017 15:34 IST
Deep Mukherjee
Deep Mukherjee
Hindustan Times, Behror
Pehlu Khan,Pehlu Khan lynching,Cow slaughter
Activist Harsh Mander sits on a dharna outside the DSP’s office in Behror after police stopped him from visiting the place where Pehlu Khan was attacked.(Deep Mukherjee/HT Photo)

High drama was witnessed in Rajasthan’s Behror on Friday morning after activists were confronted by Hindu organisations while paying tribute to dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, who was lynched on the spot by alleged cow protection vigilantes in April.

A bus full of members of a group called Karwan-e-Mohabbat (caravan of love) was passing through the streets of the dusty northern Rajasthan town when groups of people with allegiance to Hindu outfits started shouting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.

Khan’s lynching is back in focus after a Hindustan Times report on Thursday that showed police had closed investigations into six men named by the 55-year-old dairy farmer as his assailants. The clean chit has triggered a furor in Rajasthan with allegations that the government was going slow against cow vigilantes. Khan’s death was one of a string of similar incidents across India of cow-related violence that’s targeted mostly Dalits and Muslims.

Sensing trouble, police had deployed forces near the spot where Khan was attacked on April 1, allegedly by gaurakshaks. “We are here to pay tribute to Khan and everybody who have been a victim of hate crimes,” said activist and author Harsh Mander.

As the activists reached the office of the deputy superintendent of police, Behror a large group of protesters surrounded them.

“ We won’t let you pay tribute to Pehlu Khan. Is he Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose or the men fighting at the borders that people would pay tribute?” said one of the protesters.

The police initially refused to let the activists go to the place where Khan was killed.

Following that, Mander sat on a dharna saying that he wouldn’t leave the place till he paid tribute to Khan. The talks were fruitful later and Mander was allowed to go alone and pay tribute to Khan.

“We pray for families of all victims of hate crimes,” said Mander, before the group proceeded to Jaipur.

First Published: Sep 15, 2017 11:47 IST