Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Tuesday broke her silence on the Alwar lynching, saying those responsible for brutally beating up 55-year-old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan will not be spared, ANI reported. “The police are investigating the case. A few suspects have been arrested. Such things will not be tolerated in Rajasthan. The wrongdoers will not be spared,” Raje said while addressing the media in Jaipur.
She spoke out on the violence a day after Rajasthan Home Affairs Minister Gulab Chand Kataria called Khan, a resident of Haryana, a cow smuggler. During a discussion in the Assembly on Monday, Kataria had said that “a smuggler has no religion”, further claiming that Khan did not have valid papers to transport cows. He had also said that Khan had three cases of cow smuggling against him, according to The Times of India.
Meanwhile, Khan’s family has alleged that the government is shielding the accused. They also challenged Kataria and asked him to present a copy of the supposed FIRs against Khan. His relatives staged a protest outside the Rajasthan Assembly and accused the government of being biased towards the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other Hindu outfits. “If the so-called cow vigilantes had doubt over the intentions of the victim, they could have informed the police...Even if he was a cow smuggler, he did not deserve to be killed like this. Nobody from Rajasthan or Haryana has even bothered to meet the family of victims,” Khan’s uncle Hussain Khan told The Times of India.
The police on Tuesday had clarified that there were no previous cases against Khan, The Indian Express reported. Alwar Superintendent of Police Rahul Prakash had said, “There were cases against Khan’s son Irshad, but none against Khan himself.”
On April 1, Khan and four others were returning to Haryana from Rajasthan with their cattle when they were stopped by cow vigilantes, even though they are believed to have had the right documents to prove they had purchased the animals at a fair. The vigilante group brutally assaulted Khan, who later succumbed to his injuries.
After the assault, none of the attackers were arrested. Instead, the police had booked the victims on charges of cow smuggling. Three people from the mob – seen in a video of the attack that went viral – were arrested on April 5. The accused are members of a cow vigilante group affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal.