Unidentified assailants opened fire at the vehicle in which witnesses in the 2017 Alwar lynching case were travelling while on their way to Behror, Rajasthan to depose in the case on Saturday, The Indian Express reported.
The incident took place on National Highway 8 and the witnesses were travelling from Nuh in Haryana to Rajasthan.
Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, was attacked in April 2017 while he was transporting his cows from Rajasthan to Haryana. Although he had permits for the animals, a group of men had accused him of transporting them illegally and then assaulted him. Many of his attackers were allegedly affiliated with the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
“I was in the car with witnesses Azmat and Rafiq and Pehlu’s sons Irshad and Arif, along with driver Amjad,” lawyer Asad Hyatt told the daily. “We were going to Behror to testify Pehlu’s lynching but when we crossed Neemrana, a black Scorpio without a number plate tried to overtake us and make us stop.”
Khan’s son Irshad Khan said the vehicle moved close to their car and men in the vehicle waved to them, asking them to stop their car. Irshad Khan said they did not stop their car since the other vehicle did not have a number plate. “Then their vehicle came nearer and the men started hurling abuses at us, telling us to stop at once,” said Irshad Khan. “Then they overtook us and fired upon us.”
Hyatt said their car took a U-turn to avoid the other vehicle. “They started firing at us as we didn’t stop,” he said. “We sped away and their vehicle went on towards Behror. We are taking another route through the villages to reach Alwar and meet the SP [Superintendent of Police].”
“Who will depose if we are killed too?” asked Irshad Khan. He said they do not “have faith in Behror police” since they gave a “clean chit to the six people” named in the FIR. “So we’re approaching the SP directly,” he said. “How can we depose in such circumstances?” Irshad Khan asked, adding that the case should be transferred from Behror to Alwar.
Alwar Superintendent of Police Rajendra Singh said the witnesses have not approached Alwar police yet. “...And we have come to know only from the media. If they approach us we will take action as required.”