Despite countrywide outrage over the lynching of a man – believed to be a dairy farmer – in Alwar, Rajasthan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday denied that any such incident of cow vigilantism had taken place as reported by the media. “The concerned state government has already condemned the media reports,” he said in the Rajya Sabha, adding that there should be no indication or message that the government supports violence.
Naqvi statement was a response to Congress MP Madhusudan Mistry’s concerns about so-called “gau rakshaks” (cow protectors). The Opposition leader had raised the death of a 55-year-old man, who was brutally beaten in Alwar after a group of cow vigilantes accused him of smuggling bovines. Pehlu Khan had succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday. He, along with four others, were attacked by gau rakshaks affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal on April 1.
Responding to Naqvi’s denial, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “I am extremely sorry that the minister is so ill-informed. Even The New York Times knows, and the minister doesn’t know [that the attack took place].”
Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien had allowed Mistry to speak on the matter after repeated requests from Congress MPs as it was of serious nature. Unconvinced by the arguments put forth by both sides, he said he could not “go by media reports” and asked Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh to submit a report to the House.
After the incident, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria had said, “The problem is from both the sides. People know cow trafficking is illegal, but they do it. Gau bhakts try to stop those who indulge in such crimes.” He had added that it was not right to take the law in one’s hand.
After the assault, none of the attackers were arrested. Instead, the police had booked the victims on charges of cow smuggling. Three people rom the mob – seen in a video of the attack that went viral – were arrested on Wednesday night.