As the details are emerging about the brutal killing of Akbar Khan, also known as Rakbar Khan, who was lynched to death at Lalawandi village in Alwar district of Rajasthan on July 20 night by self-proclaimed Gau Rakshaks (cow vigilantes) on the suspicion of cow smuggling, it appears that the police was complicit in the attack.
The 28-year-old Khan, a resident of Kol village in Haryana, was in the custody of the cops for around three hours and 45 minutes before he was taken to a Community Health Centre, which is around six kilometre away from the spot, where he was declared brought dead.
When Newsclick tried to piece together the chronology of the incident based on the documents accessed by the website so far, shocking facts came to the fore.
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According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by Sub-inspector Mohan Singh, the Ramgarh police station got a call at 12:41 am on July 21 from a person called Naval Kishore Sharma, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) worker, and also a member of the local ‘Gau Raksha Dal’ in Ramgarh, that few people are smuggling cows to Haryana from Rajasthan. When a police team left for the spot, Sharma joined it at the police station gate and took the team to the spot – a jungle in Lalawandi village.
The police, said Sharma, reached the spot at around 1:20 am on July 21. The FIR said while a few people ran away after spotting the police, the police team found two men – Dharmenra Yadav and Pramjit Singh Sardar, who are prime accused in the case – standing at the spot with two cows. A critically injured man (the deceased) was found lying in the mud at the spot. He was taken out of the mud and put in the police jeep.
Instead of immediately rushing Akbar to the hospital, the police allegedly first stopped near a well, and washed off the mud from the victim’s body. They allegedly moved further and stopped at Sharma’s aunt’s place, where the cops arranged a vehicle with Sharma’s help to transport the cattle to a cow shelter – Jain Sudha Gaushala, which indicates that the two cows recovered from the spot were priority of the police.
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While the victim was crying in pain in the vehicle, the police reportedly went ahead and again stopped at a bus stop at Govindgarh to have tea and snacks. Seemingly considering Akbar an accused of cow smuggling and not a victim of lynch mob, the police then took him to the police station where he was questioned, and other legal formalities were completed.
The police arrived at the hospital with Akbar at 4:00 am – 3 hours and 45 minutes after he was lynched by the murderous mob, show the records. The doctors declared him ‘brought dead’. They said he died on the way, while the victim was alive till he was kept in the police station. Had he been brought to the hospital in time, he might have survived. So it was not only the lynch mob, but the police also seem to be complicit in his murder.
A police officer – on the condition of anonymity – accepted that there was delay in rushing the victim to the hospital and told Newsclickthat “all angles are being probed”. Alwar Superintendent of Police (SP) could not be reached for comment.
‘MLA is ours, nothing will happen to us’
The eye-witness – Aslam – in this case who was accompanying Akbar and managed to run away after the mob attacked the victim later told the police that when the crowd gathered there warned the attackers of consequences, they replied: “MLA (Gyandev Ahuja – the BJP legislator from Ramgarh) is ours and nothing will happen to us.”
“It has been mentioned by Aslam in his statement to the police that has been recorded in my presence,” Advocate Ramzan Choudhary told Newsclick.
Not cow ‘smuggling’ but ‘extortion’ led to Akbar’s lynching?
The lynchings in Mewat area of Rajasthan, said People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), it has become clear Akbar – who had bought two cows from Ladpur village, Ramgarh tehsil, Alwar district, Rajasthan, and was taking the cattle in the night to his village at Kol near Firozpur Jhirka, Mewat, Haryana – was killed due to “extortion”.
“It is well known that extortionists under the garb of ‘Gau Rakshaks’ are roaming the streets looking for a prey. If those carrying cows are able to pay the sum demanded, then they are allowed to go or else fired at and killed. This time too this has been the case,” said PUCL, in a statement.
The murder of Akbar – it alleged – is the “complete failure of the government in protecting Muslims, particular dairy farmers, from the killer ‘Gau Rakshaks who are basically extortionists”.
The inconsolable Akbar's widow told Newsclick, "My husband was killed because he was a Muslim. They (the attackers) could have sent him to jail, beaten him up, at least they should have spared his life. Who will take care of my children? How will I raise them?”
A look at past incidences
Four people have been lynched to death in Rajasthan by such murderous mob since 2015, with three cases reported in 2017 alone:
May 30, 2015: Abdul Gaffar Querishi was killed by the cow vigilantes at Birloka, Didwana tehsil, Nagaur district, Rajasthan.
April 1, 2017: Pehlu Khan was murdered at Behror in Alwar district of Rajasthan.
June 16, 2017:Zafar Khan was killed at Pratapgarh town in Pratapgarh district of the state.
September 10, 2017: Bhagtaram Meena was killed at Neem ka Thaana in Sikar district.
November 12, 2017: Umar Mohammed, a resident of Ghatmatika Pahadi, near Pahadi Kaman, killed near Ramgarah Tehsil in Alwar.
All the killers named by Pehlu Khan were thrown out of the purview of investigation and cases of cow smuggling are still being faced by his companions – Azmat and Rafiq. Till date, Zafar Khan’s killers are roaming free and the eye witnesses in the Umar case were thrown into jail.
In Bhagtaram’s case, nothing happened, till the High Court intervened earlier this month. There seems to be complete impunity to the killers, with the Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Singh Kataria going on record that ‘Gau Rakshaks’ are doing good work after Pehlu Khan was killed.