The Rajasthan Police have closed the investigation into six men named by dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, who was allegedly lynched by cow vigilantes in Alwar on April 1, Hindustan Times reported on Thursday. Khan had said the men had attacked him, after which he had succumbed to his injuries. The newspaper has accessed the investigation report.
The men had attacked him while he was transporting his cows to Haryana from Rajasthan. Though he had permits for the animals, the men had accused him of transporting them illegally. Many of his attackers were affiliated with the right-wing Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Of the six men Khan had named before he died, three of them are linked to right-wing groups, the report said. Employees at a cow shelter in Alwar provided the alleged attackers an alibi, saying that they were at the premises during the lynching. The cow shelter is about 4 km away from the spot where Khan had been beaten up, according to the daily.
“Based on the findings of the investigating officer, it is hereby recommended that the names of the six accused be removed from the case as they have been found not guilty,” reads the investigation report according to Hindustan Times.
The Alwar Police have also cancelled a Rs 5,000-reward for information about the accused. Besides these six men, there were nine other accused, who will continue to be investigated.
Khan’s family, however, are unhappy that the six men the farmer had names will be freed.“These six men started the attack and were present there,” Khan’s son Irshad told the newspaper. “As we were being thrashed, I heard them call each other’s name.” He also alleged that the police were under pressure to close the case.
The politics behind the lynching
The Bharatiya Janata Party had faced much criticism after Khan’s death, especially because the attackers had not been arrested immediately. Instead, Khan’s family had been charged with smuggling cows. Later, on April 26, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had said those responsible for the farmer’s death would “not be spared”. Her remarks came after Khan’s family had alleged the state was protecting the attackers and had protested outside the Rajasthan Assembly.
State Home Affairs Minister Gulab Chand Kataria had also claimed Khan was a cow smuggler, while speaking in the Assembly. Kataria had claimed the dairy farmer had three cases of cow smuggling against him, which the police later said was not true.