Judgement in Pehlu Khan Case tomorrow: 2017 Lynching, Alwar

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: August 13, 2019

The court of additional district judge first (ADJF) in Alwar will pronounce the judgment in the lynching of Pehlu Khan case tomorrow, on August 14.

Pehlu Khan was killed in April 2017. (Photo: YouTube screengrab)
Photo: YouTube screengrab

The trial has been recently completed, two years after Pehlu Khan, the dairy farmer from Nuh, who was lynched by a mob at least 200 people who called themselves as ‘gau rakshaks’ or cow vigilantes.  After hearing the final arguments in the case against the accused, additional district judge of the local court Sarita Swami posted the case for judgment on 14 August. About 45 witnesses have given their statements including 2 sons of Pehlu Khan who survived the mob assault.

Pehlu Khan, 55 years and 6 others were travelling back to their village in Nuh after purchasing cows and calves from a cattle fair in Jaipur, Rajasthan on April 1. Pehlu Khan wanted to increase the milk production in his dairy and had purchased the cows for this purpose. They were stopped at a crossing at Jaipur-Delhi national high way by cow vigilantes who accused them of smuggling the cows for slaughter. Pehlu Khan, was brutally beaten up by these self-styled cow vigilantes near Behror in Rajasthan on the Delhi-Alwar highway on April 1, accusing him of smuggling cattle. He succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital. The lynching was caught on camera. The attackers were not convinced even when Pehlu Khan and others showed them the legal documents of the purchase they had made at the fair or when they were told the cows were purchased for their dairy. The frenzied Hindutva mob tore up the documents and beat Pehlu Khan, his 2 sons and others who were with them with sticks and rods.

Pehlu Khan succumbed to severe injuries and died on April 3-4, 2017. Others were seriously injured. The mob also robbed these persons of their cell phones and money. Before Pehlu’s death he recorded a dying declaration against six persons. Ironically the six persons against whom there was this direct evidence were given a ‘clean chit” by CID Crime!

There were two FIRs registered in the case. One was against the mob for beating Pehlu Khan to death and second against him and his family for transporting cattle (cow) illegally out of the state. The police had earlier given a clean chit to the six people accused of lynching Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer. The police's decision was reportedly based on statements of the staff of a cow shelter and mobile phone records.

The police had registered cases against some of the accused for voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restrain and culpable homicide and later added murder after the death of Pehlu Khan.

Shockingly, the Rajasthan Police filed a chargesheet for cow smuggling against Pehlu Khan, who was allegedly lynched in 2017 by a mob of 'gau rakshaks' in Alwar for transporting cattle, and his two sons. The police chargesheeted Pehlu Khan's sons Irsad (25) and Arif (22) under sections 5, 8 and 9 while charges have been framed against the deceased under section 6 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995. The chargesheet against Pehlu Khan was prepared on December 30 last year, 13 days after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's government came into power in Rajasthan.Section 5 of the RBA Act pertains to the prohibition of the export of bovine animals for the purpose of slaughter and regulation of temporary migration or export for other purposes, while section 6 says the transporter is also an abettor and is liable for the same punishment as the person committing the offence.Section 8 is about the penalty for such offences while Section 9 mentions punishment for causing hurt to a bovine animal. In 2018, the previous BJP government in the state had filed a similar chargesheet against two associates of Pehlu Khan, who were also attacked by the mob.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot responded to the backlash saying, "Investigation of this case was done in the past during BJP government and charge sheet was presented. If any discrepancies will be found in the investigation, case will be re-investigated."

In October 2017, an independent investigation by journalist Ajit Sahi had highlighted the unprofessionalism in the investigations.

 
  • Journalist Ajit Sahi's 4-month investigation reveals police inaction
  • Appears to be a pattern in around 30 similar lynchings: Sahi
  • Lynching cases, including Pehlu Khan's, likely to be clubbed and moved to courts

10 LOOPHOLES

1. The FIR says that the police first heard of Pehlu Khan at 4:24 am on April 2. The incident happened around 7 pm on April 1 and just 2 km from the police station.

2. Even though the police had not heard of the incident till the early hours of April 2, the dying declaration of Pehlu Khan had already been recorded by the police at 11:50 pm on April 1.

3. It was in fact the police who had brought Khan and his son to the hospital half an hour after the lynching took place on April 1. But The FIR however does not name the policemen as witnesses.

4. Pehlu Khan, a resident of Nuh in Haryana, was a stranger in Alwar and yet named the six as his assailants as well as the right-wing organisations that they worked for. The police ignored the dying declaration and gave all the 6 a clean chit.

5. The alibi the six came up with was that they were at a gaushala at the time of the lynching. Coincidentally, one of the accused is the caretaker of the gaushala and the eyewitnesses to the alibi are all employees of the caretaker.

6. The six also said in their alibi that their mobile phones were not at the crime scene. The police chose to take this as conclusive evidence.

7. The accused were absconding for 5 months but mysteriously appeared before the police when called and recorded their statements that they were not at the crime scene.

8. If the above was not enough, the post mortem report is another revelation. Three government doctors at Behror said the death was due to injuries sustained during the attack.

9. The police chose to overlook the report of government doctors and instead relied upon the testimony of doctors at a private hospital Kailash Hospital, which coincidentally belongs to Union minister Mahesh Sharma.

10. The private doctors said Pehlu Khan was fine when he came to the hospital but at the same time admitted that he was bleeding from the nose and complaining of chest pain. The doctors concluded Khan died of a heart attack.

Here’s a timeline of the case:

April 1, 2017: Pehlu Khan and few others were returning from Jaipur to his village in Nuh, Haryana, carrying cows.
Ø A group of cow vigilantes stopped them on Behror highway and started thrashing them over suspicion that the bovines were being illegally transported.
Ø Pehlu Khan was seriously injured and rushed to a hospital.
Ø His mates in the van also received injuries.

April 2, 2017: Instead of registering a case against the mob that thrashed Khan and his mates, Rajasthan Police register a complaint against Khan and his sons Irshad and Arif under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995.

April 3, 2017: Pehlu Khan succumbs to his injuries at around 7 PM in the hospital.

April 5, 2017: Police file a murder case against the attackers and put a reward of Rs 5,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the suspects.
Ø FIR lodged against the gau rakshaks under IPC Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 147 (destruction of property), 308 (culpable homicide) and 379 (theft). After Khan’s death, the police have added Section 302 (murder) as well.
Ø Police arrest 3 people in connection with the case.

April 6, 2017: Reports on Pehlu Khan’s statement given to the police start emerging.
Ø In the statement, Khan had named gau rakshaks allegedly linked to Bajrang Dal and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).

April 7, 2017: The Rajasthan government submits a preliminary report to the Home Ministry about the incident.
Ø One more arrest made in connection with the case, taking the total number of arrests to 4.
Ø MHA constitutes a special team to investigate and arrest the culprits.
Ø The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issues notice to Rajasthan government in the lynching of Pehlu Khan in Alwar by cow vigilantes.
Ø Commission also asks Union Home Ministry to inform about the steps being taken to deal with such incidents in the country.

April 9, 2017: Alwar Police arrests 2 more people in connection with the case, taking the number of arrests to 6.

April 20, 2017: Vipin Yadav, one of the six people named in the FIR lodged after Khan’s death, is compared with freedom fighter Bhagat Singh by a self-styled god-woman.

May 3, 2017: A 17-year-old youth detained by the Alwar Police in connection with the Pehlu Khan lynching case.
Ø The accused, who is a school student, was identified on the basis of a video in which a mob is seen assaulting Khan and others.

May 11, 2017: Rajasthan Police changes the investigation officer (IO) in the case.
Ø The probe is taken away from the deputy SP of Alwar police and handed over to an additional SP of Jaipur rural police.

May, 2017: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje breaks her silence over increasing mob violence. Says, “Mob violence is unacceptable and those found guilty will be severely punished".

June 12, 2017: Around 50 cow vigilantes target officials of the Tamil Nadu government transporting cows from Jaisalmer to their state, pelt stones at a truck and block National Highway 15 on suspicion of cattle smuggling in Rajasthan's Barmer district.

June 16, 2017: A CPI-ML worker Zafar Khan was allegedly lynched by civic sanitation workers in Rajasthan’s Pratapgarh district when he tried to stop the civic body workers from photographing women defecating in the open.

July 9, 2017: Alwar lynching case is transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department – Crime Branch (CB-CID). This is the third time the case changed hands.

August 31, 2017: Rajasthan High Court grants bail to 19-year-old Vipin Yadav.

September 13, 2017: Rajasthan Police gives a clean chit to six men accused in the killing of Pehlu Khan.
The police came to the decision based on statements of the staff of a cow shelter and mobile phone records, a daily reported.

Related Articles:
  1.  Cow Slaughter Prevention Laws in India https://cjp.org.in/cow-slaughter-prevention-laws-in-india/
  2.  Murder of Pehlu Khan
  3.  Shocking! Alwar lynching victim Pehlu Khan chargsheeted posthumously by the Congress government