What killed Akbar Khan: Lynching, delayed hospitalisation or police brutality?

In more disturbing information emerging in the recent case of the lynching of a man in Alwar, the police who were supposed to rescue him from the violent mob, allegedly not only took two and a half hours to take him to a hospital 4kms away, but may have also assaulted the victim before taking him to the hospital.

Akbar Lynching

28 year old Akbar Khan alias Rakbar was assaulted by a mob while walking through a forest near Lalawandi Village in Rajasthan’s Alwar district with two cows. The mob suspected him of being a cattle smuggler. However, the People’s Union off Civil Liberties (PUCL) says that Akbar was attacked because he refused to give into the extortion demands of local ‘cow vigilante’ groups. Though he was alive when the police reached the crime scene, he was declared brought dead to the hospital.

According to an independent investigation by The Indian Express, Assistant Sub Inspector Mohan Singh who was on routine patrol received a call from Naval Kishore Sharma, chief of VHP’s Gau Raksha Cell at 12:41 that night. Sharma had received word of a ‘cow smuggler’ being caught and alerted the police. The police team then proceeded to the crime scene with Sharma in their police vehicle. Akbar was still alive at the time but covered in mud. The police team then took Akbar to some huts located a little over 2 kilo meters away and got locals to wash away the mud. They directed a man named Kishore to use his three wheeler to transport the cows. They also arranged for a change of clothes for Akbar. They then proceeded to the police station, but not before stopping for some tea on the way!

However, this is where the story takes a darker turn. In an interview to The Indian Express, Sharma said, “Police helped Rakbar change his clothes. They assaulted him as they questioned him.” He adds, “I then left the police station around 3 am to accompany the cows to Sudha Sagar Gaushala on Alwar road. When I had left for the gaushala, Rakbar was alive and breathing but by the time I got back, he had collapsed.” A local BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja has also echoed Sharma’s version. In an interview to the Economic Times Ahuja said, “There are at least two police constables who are witness to the beating in the police station but are not saying so publicly.” He has now demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter.

Interestingly during an interview to a TV channel, Ahuja let it slip that the men who initially surrounded and beat up Akbar Khan were his ‘karyakarta’ or activists. However, when pressed to state if he knew the activists, he tries to put distance between himself and them. An amateur video of this interview shot by an unknown person has been circulating on social media. Though we cannot vouch for the authenticity of the video, it may be viewed here:


While this may just be an attempt to divert attention from the lynching to police brutality in a bid to assign the blame elsewhere, it cannot be denied that with the possible involvement of the police in Akbar Khan’s murder, the case has suddenly taken a more sinister hue. Akbar was victimised twice over… first by self-styled co protection groups who have been alleged to run an extortion racket, attacking dairy farmers who refuse to pay up, and then by the police, who assaulted the victim during questioning based on allegations of ‘cattle smuggling’.

Administration’s response
Jaipur Range IG Hemant Priyadarshi could not be reached for a response to allegations of police brutality despite multiple attempts on Monday July 23. However, on Sunday night, Priyadarshi had assured a fair probe saying, “Additional SP Crime and Vigilance (Jaipur Range) will investigate the Alwar lynching. Probe is being done in a transparent and unbiased manner.”

Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria responded to allegations of police delay saying, “According to few media reports there was delay by the police in taking the victim to the hospital. We will get this information verified and if it is found true, we will take action against those responsible.”

Meanwhile Rajasthan DGP OP Galhotra has ordered the constitution of a team of senior police officials to investigate the case and submit a report. The committee comprises special DGP (law and order) N R K Reddy, Additional DGP (CID-Crime Branch) P K Singh, Inspector General (Jaipur Range) Hemant Priyadarshi and state nodal officer (cow vigilance) Mahendra Singh Chaudhary.

Latest Updates
So far three people have been arrested in connection with the lynching, namely Dharmendra Yadav, Paramjeet Singh and Naresh Sharma. Police are still looking for additional suspects.
On Monday July 23, Advocate Shadan Farasat, mentioned the Alwar lynching case before the bench headed by Chief Justice of India in the Supreme Court, requesting the bench to take up contempt proceedings against State of Rajasthan filed by Tushar Gandhi. The contempt pleas against the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana will be heard on August 28.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the Rajasthan Government in the lynching case.



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