Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria on Tuesday said Rakbar Khan, the man who was allegedly assaulted by cow vigilantes on July 20, appeared to have died in police custody.
“According to the evidence we have collected, it looks like a custodial death,” Kataria told reporters, according to ANI. “Further investigation is underway.”
The local police are accused of delaying taking Khan to hospital after finding him lying injured near Lalwandi village in Ramgarh tehsil. “It was a mistake by the police officer to keep the injured for so long in the police station,” Kataria said, according to the Deccan Chronicle. “He should have taken the injured to hospital in the first place instead of delivering cows to the gaushala [cow shelter]. This is why he has been suspended.”
The Rajasthan home minister, accompanied by Director General of Police NRK Reddy and another police officer, reached Alwar on Tuesday afternoon. “We are going to the spot [where Khan was attacked] because it is being said that there were many people involved,” Kataria said before leaving for Alwar. “But according to our report there were only five to six people present when the incident occurred.”
Kataria said the state government has written to the additional chief judicial magistrate to initiate a probe, The Times of India reported. He also announced a compensation of Rs 1.25 lakh for the family of the deceased.
“I met the victim’s family and they told me that they are satisfied with the action taken so far,” the home minister said, ANI reported. “I told them to come and meet me whenever they want if they want to tell me something more.”
According to a post-mortem report, Khan died of shock and injuries from a “blunt weapon or an object”. “There were injuries on the body,” Rajeev Gupta, one of the doctors who performed the autopsy, told NDTV. “Internal bleeding led to the death.”
The report also listed seven to eight fractures on his body.
Meanwhile, Alwar (Urban) MLA Banwari Lal Singhal, while saying that the lynching should be investigated fairly, claimed that people from the victim’s Meo community were involved in crime, PTI reported. “Many of them [Meo Muslims] come to Alwar from Haryana and return to their villages after committing crimes,” Singhal alleged.
Aslam Khan, the lone eyewitness and a friend of Rakbar Khan, has told the Rajasthan Police that their attackers claimed to have the support of an MLA. “They were saying that the MLA is with them and that no one can harm them,” he said. The local MLA is Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gyan Dev Ahuja, who had earlier alleged that the police had beaten up Rakbar Khan, and demanded a judicial inquiry. The case has now been transferred to the Jaipur range.
Three men have been arrested in the case so far.