A Muslim diary farmer in Alwar district of in Rajasthan, Pehlu Khan, was waylaid by a self-styled cow vigilantes on 1 April when he was transporting cows for his farm, beaten up mercilessly, and he died of his wounds two days later. The Rajasthan police had booked a group of self-styled gau rakhshaks. But, now the cops have closed the investigation against six of them giving a clean chit, saying that they were not present at the time of the attack, Hindustan Times reported. Three of them have clear links to Hindu right-wing organisations.
The probe team said they have concluded the case based on the statements by the staff of a cow shelter as well as mobile phone records.
However, according to the daily, the staff of the cow shelter, Rath Gaushala, has maintained that the six -- Om Yadav (45), Hukum Chand Yadav (44), Sudhir Yadav (45), Jagmal Yadav (73), Naveen Sharma (48) and Rahul Saini (24) – were present on their premises, which was about four-km from the attack site. Rath Gaushala is patronised by Jagmal Yadav.
“The statements of witnesses in the case including policemen and the employees of the Rath Gaushala indicate that none of the accused was present at the time of the attack. Call record details of the six people along with Base Transceiver Station (BTS) location of mobiles further support this,” the report was quoted by the daily.
“Based on the findings of the investigating officer, it is hereby recommended that the names of the six accused be removed from the case as they have been found not guilty,” the report said.
According to reports, the Crime Investigation Department-Crime Branch that was investigating Khan’s killing sent its findings to the Alwar police on 1 September, asking them to remove the six people from the list of accused.
The police’s move has left Khan family in sheer despair and anger.
“These six men started the attack and were present there. As we were being thrashed, I heard them call each other’s name. One was saying Hukum, drag the men down here and break the pickup truck,” Khan’s son, Irshad, who was injured in the assault, told HT. He said he heard the names of Om, Hukum, Sudhir and Rahul during the lynching.
“The police are saying this under pressure… Our quest for justice doesn’t end here. We will continue to fight until those six men are proven guilty.”
Pehlu Khan from Nuh district of Haryana was beaten to death by a group of 200 cow vigilantes affiliated with right-wing Hindutva groups in Rajasthan’s Alwar. Six others who were with Pehlu Khan were also beaten by the cow vigilantes.
The investigation named nine other accused – two of them minors, against whom the case will continue. Seven of them have been arrested and two are absconding.