The Juvenile Justice Board in Rajasthan’s Alwar district has convicted two teenagers in the 2017 Pehlu Khan lynching case, Hindustan Times reported on Friday. This is the first conviction in the case, three years after the incident took place.
“The board convicted two minors on Thursday,” Inspector General of Police S Sengathir told PTI.
Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer, and his sons were transporting cows after purchasing them in a cattle fair in Jaipur to their hometown Nuh in Haryana, when they were waylaid near Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway by a mob of self-styled cow vigilantes and beaten up with the accusation of smuggling the cattle. Khan succumbed to injuries in a hospital after two days.
A sessions court had acquitted all the six persons accused of beating him to death, while giving them the benefit of the doubt, on August 14 last year. Later, the Congress government in Rajasthan had filed an appeal in the High Court against the acquittal.
Defence lawyer Adarsh Yadav said he had not seen the copy of the order yet, so the grounds for the verdict by Juvenile Justice Board’s Principal Magistrate Sarita Dhakad were not clear. “We will know the grounds only after the sentencing,” he added.
The two accused, however, can only be held in custody for a maximum period of three years under the country’s juvenile law. The sentencing will take place on Saturday.
Additional Public Prosecutor Yogendra Khatana said he was unaware of the evidence used in the hearing before the board. “I can comment on the conviction only after going through the order,” he added. “Maybe the lapses in the main case were addressed during trial in the juvenile court.”
Another minor, who is older than 16 years, is also facing trial in the case.
A special investigation team set up by the Rajasthan government to look into the lynching had found multiple lapses in the police investigation in September. The SIT pointed out loopholes by each of the four investigating officers in the case. It had said that the first investigating officer reached the scene of the crime only three days after, failed to inform the forensic team and did not order medical examination of the the vehicles in which Khan was transporting the cows.