Jaipur: In an open letter, addressing Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, more than fifty activists from Rajasthan undersigned as People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) members, reminded the CM that her government is not even caring to follow the Supreme Court’s instructions while dealing with atrocities of cow vigilantes in the name of cow protection. The letter, comes after the alleged killers of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, got a clean chit.
On April 1, at Behror in Alwar district, a dairy farmer 55-year-old Pehlu Khan, who had bought cow from cattle market for milking and had the receipt also, was lynched by cow-vigilantes while transporting. In the incident, his sons had also received severe injuries.
However, even after the heinous crime, Rajasthan chief minister had not condemned it. Only after three days dharna at state capital Jaipur, Vasundhara Raje had condemned the crime. But five months down the line, six accused of lynching Pehlu Khan lynching, were let off the hook, with the Rajasthan Police, closing the case (number 255/2017). However, investigation for probing cases (no 252/2017 and 253/2017) against deceased Pehlu Khan and his sons for cow smuggling are still on.
The activists say in the beginning of the letter that Vasundhara government favours atrocities by cow vigilantes and its acts prove that. The government had transferred the case from deputy superintendent of police, Kothputli which was monitored under Director General of Police (DGP) Priyadarsani to CB-CID. While soon after the incident home minister Gulab Chand Kataria’s comment that cow vigilantes did good work, but they should not take law in their hands, with such statements how a neutral investigation is possible? They questioned.
The strong-worded letter not only condemned the police act to clean cheat alleged killers, but also listed all the cases in which government did not pursue the case according to its merit or intensity of the crime. It mentioned lynching of Zafar Khan by Pratapgarh Municipal officials, which was saved by Chairman Ashok Jain and no action was taken in the case. Another case of Nagaur where Abdul Ghafur was killed in 2015, but no one had been arrested. The letter also mentioned the Rabbani Hotel case, in which chicken meat was alleged to be beef and that the fiasco has led to the hotel being sealed, while the woman, Kamla Didi is, who caused the ruckus is roaming freely.
Also, a 58-year-old tribal, Bhagat Ram Meena was also beaten to death in the name of cow vigilantismon September 9. In this case, after 13 hours, a case got registered but no concrete action has taken.
There are several examples where Muslims, nomads, tribals and dalits have been killed in the name of cow protection and the pattern says that entire government machinery has saved cow-goons and now saving Phelu Khan’s killers.
The open letter also reminded CM that in an article in Times of India, she had claimed that she did not support mob lynching and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)’s nationalism believes in patriotism, hence it could not be intolerant.
“Hope, you will not shed crocodile tears only through articles but will also give instructions to take action against cow-goons, who has become a synonyms of fear,” reads the letter.
PUCL also made it clear that they will lend all support to Pehlu Khan’s family and will challenge the clean chit given to the accused in the court.
While, PUCL, released open letter, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer turned social activist Harsh Mander, who is on a pan-India tour with his Karwan-e-Mohabbat, to promote peace, reached Behror, in Rajasthan to pay tribute to Pehlu Khan. However, he was stopped by police. But, Mander, who was determined to pay tribute, along with his group, sat on a dharna, which eventually compelled the police to let him go ahead with his plan.
The police, giving a clean chit to those accused of lynching Pehlu Khan, has lead to furor in Rajasthan. Ever since the news was highlighted, #noonekilledpehlukhan has been trending, with many openly criticising the government for not doing justice.