Family of a 22-year-old Muslim man in Haryana’s Nuh district has claimed that he was killed by cow vigilantes on the suspicion of smuggling cattle on January 28.
The man, identified as Waris Khan, worked as a car mechanic and was allegedly killed when he was returning from Bhiwadi. He, along with two others, was apprehended by members of Hindutva group Bajrang Dal who assaulted him up on the suspicion of cow smuggling, Waris Khan’s cousin Shahid Khan told Scroll.
Shahid Khan claimed that Monu Manesar of Bajrang Dal went live on Facebook that showed how he and his associates were assaulting Waris Khan and pushing them into his vehicle. The Bajrang Dal men were carrying weapons as well, Shahid Khan said.
However, the police have disputed the allegations made by Waris Khan’s family and claimed that he died of internal injuries following a car accident.
According to the police, a car with three occupants including Waris Khan, Shokeen and Nafis, crashed into a tempo near Khori Kalan on Tauru-Bhiwadi road on January 28 around 5 am, reported The Indian Express.
The police have filed a first information report againt Khan and his friends on the complaint of the tempo driver under provisions of the Indian Penal Code as well as Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act that prohibit cow slaughter. Nafis and Shokeen are in police custody.
Nuh Superintendent of Police Varun Singla told The Indian Express that Bajrang Dal members reached the spot and recorded a video of Khan and his associates before intimating the police about the accident.
“The accused [Khan and others] were handed over to the police and police took the trio to a CHC in Tauru, from where Waris and Nafis were referred to government medical college in Nalhar,” he added. “At Nalhar, Waris died of injuries sustained in the accident.”
In a video, the Bajrang Dal members could be seen asking Khan and others their names and villages . While in another video, the Hindutva group members could be seen carrying weapons and posing with the three injured men in front of the damaged car, according to The Indian Express.
Khan’s family has alleged that he was either strangulated or his internal organs were injured since there are no marks of injury or wound on his body.
“We are waiting for the post mortem,” Shahid Khan told Scroll. “We have filed a complaint before the police. They have noted it in the daily register but they did not file a case. We demand that police should act on our complaint and file a case of murder under section 302 against Bajrang Dal men.”
Shahid Khan also asked if his cousin was injured why was he kept in Manesar’s custody for five hours and not taken to the hospital.
On allegations of cow smuggling, Shahid Khan told Scroll that that if Waris Khan was involved in the act, he should have been dealt by law.
“What gives Bajrang Dal men authority to kidnap and beat up people,” he added. “Are they a police force or some authority? Who are they? There is a police force to deal with crime.”
Meanwhile, human rights body Amnesty International India on Sunday said it was “horrified” by the killing and demanded that Haryana government “promptly, independently and impartially investigate whether his murder was motivated by discrimination and intolerance”.
“In 2018, India’s Supreme Court held that states must take strong measures to curb cow vigilantism since the onus lies on them to ensure that such incidents do not occur,” it said in a series of tweets. “However, five years later, hate crimes by alleged “cow protectors” continue unabated in the country.”