In a shocking development in the Pehlu Khan lynching case, his sons, their lawyer as well as witnesses who were on their way to depose before a court in Behror, were attacked by men in an unmarked vehicle. They were travelling from their village Nuh in Haryana to Behror in Rajasthan.
Their lawyer Mohammed Asad Hayat posted about the incident on his Facebook page saying, “Today witnesses were going to start deposing in the Pehlu Khan case. Therefore I, accompanied by Pehlu’s sons Irshad and Arif, as well as two witnesses Azmat and Rafiq, were traveling to Behror in a car. Our driver was Amjad.” He said they were driving along NH8, and shortly after crossing Nimrana a vehicle began to follow them. Adv Hayat said, “The men were in a Black Scorpio but the vehicle had no number plates. They tried to overtake us and then started firing at us!” Hayat says that they took a U-turn after this attack and headed to Alwar to meet district officials. “This was a tactic to intimidate the witnesses and prevent them from deposing,” says Adv Hayat.
He also uploaded this picture on his Facebook page:
Speaking to Indian Express, Pehlu Khan’s son Irshad confirmed the story and said, “The vehicle came near and the men inside waved their hands, asking us to stop. We might have even stopped, but we didn’t as their vehicle did not have a number plate. Then their vehicle came nearer and the men started hurling abuses at us, telling us to stop at once. Then they overtook us and fired upon us.”
Speaking to Sabrang India, Alwar SP Rajendra Singh confirmed that Advocate Hayat and Pehlu Khan’s sons had approached him after escaping from the alleged attack. “Yes, they came here and met us. The matter has been brought to our attention and police will now investigate the case.”
Meanwhile People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Sabrang India’s sister concern Citizens for Justice and Peace are appealing for protection to be provided to the witnesses in the case.
PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES
Date: 29th September, 2018
Sh. O.P. Galhotra,
Sh. VK Singh,
IG Jaipur Range,
1. Urgent lodging of the FIR and arrest of all accused in today morning’s attack on all witnesses in the Pehlu khan murder case, near Nimrana in Alwar district.
2. Providing security to the witnesses for a fair and impartial trial.
3. Shifting of the trial outside Behror for the above objective.
Today was the date of hearing in the Pehlu khan murder case in the ADJ Behror court. All the witnesses along with a lawyer were on their way to Behror from Jaisinghpur, Nuh, Mewat, Haryana. Aarif and Irshad, sons of Pehlu Khan and Rafique and Azmat are primary witnesses to the lynching that happened on 1st April, 2017. Pehlu Khan, was seriously injured during the incident and later passed away on the 3rd. April, 2017 in a private hospital in Behror.
With the SC having given proper guidelines in its July 2018 order in the TehseenPoonawalla case of setting up fast track courts, speeding up the trial and conducting day to day hearings. The SC also issued contempt notices to the Rajasthan Police for the murder of Rakbar Khans in RamgarhAlwar. This urged the Courts and the police get their act together and finally the witnesses were called for their statements.
The details of today’s i.e. 29 September 2018 are as follows –
The four witnesses and their lawyer left Jaisinghpur early morning and were on their way to Behror in a Bolero car numbered HR55 1310. While approaching Gyan Hotel near Neemrana, their vehicle was chased by unknown men in a black Scorpio without a number plate and their vehicle was fired at, after which the Scorpio turned towards Behror and disappeared. It was targeted as is clear from the Message sent by Lawyer Asad Haya which is as follows ” आज पहलू केस में गवाहों के बयान शुरू होने थे। इसलिए मैं पहलू के पुत्रगण इरशाद , आरिफ और गवाह अज़मत व रफीक़ के साथ कार से बहरोड़ जा रहा था।कार अमजद चला रहा था । नीमराना क्रॉस करने के बाद अज्ञात लोगों द्वारा हमारी कार का पीछा शुरू कर दिया गया और ओवरटेक करते हुए कार को रोकने की कोशिश की गई और फायर भी किया गया ।फायरिंग करते हुए गाड़ी बहरोड़ की तरफ चली गयी । काले रंग की स्कोर्पियी थी जिस पर नंबर प्लेट नहीं थी । इन हालात मैं हमने गाड़ी को वापस यूटर्न से वापस लिया है और अब अलवर ज़िला अधिकारियों के पास जा रहे है। सभी सुरक्षित हैं । गवाही से रोकने के लिए ये कृत्य अपराधियों द्वारा किया गया है।
On receiving this message on a Whatsapp group, I called up Azmat who has been regularly in touch with me. Azmat confirmed the incident and told me that they would only go to the court only if they got proper police protection. They were rushing to Alwar, which was 70 KMs away. Upon
I called up the SP immediately, who said that an FIR would be lodged and action would be taken. The IG Jaipur range too was informed and has also responded positively.
It is our humble request that security be provided urgently and immediately to the witnesses.This police protection should be given from Haryana itself, right up to the Court and back. It is important that for a fair and impartial trial the witnesses are not only given protection but are able to fearlessly speak out what they saw that day as part of their deposition to the court.
Secondly, it would be sensible to move the trial outside Behror to Jaipur, Alwar or even outside to Delhi as was done in some of the Gujarat 2002 cases,when the trial was shifted to Mumbai.
I hope you share our concern and would recommend the same to the judicial authorities, i.e. for the trial to be moved out of Behror. The environment in Behror is averse to democratic practices, where not only lynchings occur but also no action is taken to stop them. Another such incident from 2017 was when Karwaan-e-Mohabbat led by Harsh Mander was passing through Behror. They were not allowed by the local police to even visit the place where Pehlu Khan was lynched, let alone hold a meeting in the city. As the supporters of the killers and so called Gaurakshaks had told the police that they would attack if such a meeting happened. To make matters worse, the Karwaan was attacked in Kotputli when they stopped for tea.
The constitution promises the right to free and fair trial to all the citizens, sadly these circumstances are far away from it. It is important that not only protection be given to the witnesses but also the trial be moved out of Behror to actualize the principle laid down by the law of the land..
Kavita Srivastava, Anant Bhatnagar,
President General Secretary
Address: 76, Shanti Niketan Colony, Kisan Marg, Tonk Road, Jaipur-302015