In a surprising turn of events, the Rajasthan Police have chargesheeted Pehlu Khan and his two sons on charges of cow smuggling, two years after the former was lynched to death by a mob of cow vigilantes in Alwar for transporting cattle.
The police chargesheeted Khan's sons Irsad (25) and Arif (22) under Sections 5, 8 and 9 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) while, charges have been framed against the deceased under Section 6 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995. The chargesheet also includes the owner of the pick-up truck used to transport the animals on 1 April, 2017, when the incident occurred near Behror.
The chargesheet against Khan, a dairy farmer, was prepared on 30 December, 2018, 13 days after the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government came into power in Rajasthan. It was placed before the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Behror on 29 May, 2019.
The Indian Express quoted Khan’s eldest son Irshad as saying: "We lost our father in the attack by cow vigilantes and now we have been charged as cow smugglers. We had hoped that the new Congress government in Rajasthan will review and withdraw the case against us, but now a chargesheet has been filed against us. We hoped for justice after the government changed but that didn’t happen."
Reacting to the posthumous chargesheet filed against Khan, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday said investigation into the matter was carried out during the tenure of the former BJP government, adding that the case would be re-investigated if any discrepancies are found.
"Congress always condemned the killing of Pehlu Khan. Those who killed him and broke the law must be punished. An investigation into the case was conducted in the past during the BJP government's tenure and chargesheet was presented. If any discrepancies are found in the investigation, the case will be re-investigated," Gehlot told media in Jaipur.
Gehlot assured that no one will be spared. "Accused must be taught a lesson so that no one commits such crime in the future," Gehlot added.
In 2018, the previous BJP government in Rajasthan had filed a similar chargesheet against two associates of Khan, Azmat and Rafique, who were also attacked by the mob during the same incident. The mob had also targeted the truck driver, Arjun Lal Yadav.
Yadav's father, Jagdish Prasad has also been booked under Section 6 of the Act. According to Section 6, the transporter is also an abettor and liable for the same punishment as the person committing the offence.
There were two FIRs registered in the Alwar lynching case – one was against the mob for beating Khan to death and second against him and his family for allegedly transporting cattle without the district collector's permission.
The Indian Express further reported that two separate FIRs had been filed against two different pick-up truck owners in the incident – one that Arjun was driving and the second truck with Khan and his sons aboard.
Earlier, the police had given a clean chit to the six people accused of lynching Khan. The police's decision was reportedly based on the statement of the staff of a cow shelter, and the mobile phone records of the accused.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has drawn flak over the recent development with All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi castigating the Congress party for charging the victim. Owaisi urged the Muslims in the state to "reject such organisations".
Congress in “Power” is replica of BJP ,Muslims of Rajasthan must realise this,reject such individuals/organisations who are brokers of congress party,& start developing their own independent political platform ,70 years is a long time please CHANGE https://t.co/gLsimg1m50
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) June 29, 2019
Rajasthan BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja accused Khan, his sons and brothers of being "habitual offenders" and claimed that the allegations against the gau rakshaks were wrong.
Speaking to ANI, Ahuja said, "Pehlu Khan's sons and his brothers were and are habitual offenders. The public caught their cars when they were smuggling cows, but somehow Khan was able to escape. The allegations against Bajarang Dal and Vishava Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders are wrong."
"Congress helped Khan and his family and now they are taking credit that under their government the police have filed chargesheet against him," he said.
Khan, 55, a native of Nuh in Haryana, was beaten allegedly up by self-styled cow vigilantes near Behror in Rajasthan on the Delhi-Alwar highway on 1 April, accusing him of smuggling cattle. He succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital on 3 April.
Section 5 of the RBA Act pertains to the prohibition of the export of bovine animals for the purpose of slaughter and regulation of temporary migration or export for other purposes, while Section 6 says the transporter is also an abettor and is liable for the same punishment as the person committing the offence. Section 8 is about the penalty for such offences while Section 9 mentions punishment for causing hurt to a bovine animal.
With inputs from ANI
Updated Date: Jun 29, 2019 16:08:22 IST