The police in Rajashthan’s Alwar district have booked two companions of Haryana dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, who cow vigilantes lynched in April 2017, and alleged that all three had indulged in “cow smuggling”, The Indian Express reported. They also brought similar charges against the owner of the pick-up truck the three were transporting the cow in.
The police filed the chargesheet against Azmat and Rafeeq in the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate of Behror on January 24. The police said that the two had not produced either the receipt from the Jaipur cattle market they had purportedly visited or the transport permit for the four cows they were transporting, the Hindustan Times reported.
“The JMC [Jaipur municipal corporation] must be issuing the permits,” Amer Sub-Divisional Officer Baldev Ram Bhojak, who was the issuing authority for the permits, said. “I have never issued any.”
But Azmat, who is still bed-ridden because of the injuries he received, claimed that he had a valid purchase receipt the Jaipur Municipal Corporation had issued. “Is this justice? We were attacked and beaten up by the mob, and now we have been made the accused,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying. “At the time of the purchase, nobody told us we needed additional permits.”
In October 2017, an independent fact-finding team had concluded that the Rajasthan Police had deliberately attempted “to weaken the cases against the accused gaurakshaks”. The report had come a month after the police had closed its investigation against the six men whom Khan had named before he died. Their names were removed from the case after an inquiry declared them not guilty on the basis of statements the staff of a cow shelter made, and mobile phone tower signal records.