The Rajasthan High Court has issued a bailable warrant against six persons, who were acquitted in 2019, in connection with the Pehlu Khan lynching matter by an Alwar court.
Khan was attacked by over 200 Gau Rakshaks or cow vigilantes on suspicion of cow smuggling, while returning from a cattle fair to his village Nuh in Haryana. The 55-year-old succumbed to his injuries 4 days after the attack on April 4, 2017 in a private hospital in Alwar.
The Division Bench of Justices Goverdhan Bardhar and Vijay Bishnoi has ordered, “Admit. Issue bailable warrants against the accused-respondents to secure their presence before this court in the sum of Rs. 10,000/-, returnable within a period of eight weeks.”
The present appeal has been filed by Pehlu Khan’s sons, Irshad and Arif, and their plea has been clubbed with the plea filed by the Rajasthan government against the lower court’s acquittal order.
On August 14, 2019, Additional District Judge Dr. Sarita Swami in Alwar had acquitted six out of the total nine people accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case. These men are Om Yadav, Hukum Chand Yadav, Sudhir Yadav, Jagmal Yadav, Naveen Sharma and Rahul Saini. The accused were discharged of all charges after being given the “benefit of doubt”. Interestingly, the viral video of the mob lynching was ruled inadmissible by the district court.
After the lynching incident, two FIRs were filed: one against the violent mob for grievously beating Pehlu Khan, and second against Khan himself, his two sons and the truck driver for allegedly transporting cattle (cow) illegally out of the state.
During the horrific assault, Khan had tried to produce the paper work from civic authorities that stated that the cows were purchased for milk production and not for slaughter. But the attackers tore up the documents and mercilessly beat him with sticks. Khan, who was a heart patient, suffered cracked ribs, a bloody nose and even injuries to his eye.
On October 30, 2019, Rajasthan High Court’s Justice Pankaj Bhandari had quashed the chargesheet against Khan, his sons and the driver. He had observed in his order, “There is nothing on record to show that the bovine were being transported for the purpose of slaughtering… Continuation of proceedings would tantamount to abuse of process of law and would result in grave injustice to petitioner Nos. 2 and 3 who have lost their father in the incident and petitioner No.1 who was merely a driver and was transporting the milching cows and their calves from Rajasthan to the residence of petitioner Nos.2 and 3 at Haryana.” (Khan Mohammed and Ors vs State of Rajasthan, S.B Crl. Misc. Petition No. 5935 of 2019)
This lynching case has been known for its botched-up investigation by the Rajasthan Police, the controversial acquittal order and the impunity with which Pehlu Khan’s sons, their lawyer as well as witnesses were attacked in broad daylight, by men in an unmarked vehicle in September 2018 when they were going to the court to depose. A detailed CJP report about the shoddy investigation and manipulation of the case till now may be read here.
The order dated September 6, 2021 may be read here:
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