All 6 walk free in Pehlu Khan lynching case

 A File photo is A file photo is seen Alwar lynching victim Pehlu Khan's mother Ankuri Beegam (L) and other family members at a dharna, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. (PTI) seen Alwar lynching victim Pehlu Khan's mother Ankuri Beegam (L) and other family members at a dharna, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. (PTI)

The court of Additional District Judge in Rajasthan's Alwar district on Wednesday acquitted all six men accused on the benefit of doubt, in the alleged lynching of 55-year-old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan.

The six accused were set free by the Alwar court while three other accused, who were minors at the time of the crime, are being tried separately at a juvenile court.  All six accused were caught on a cellphone camera, but a trial court in Alwar said the video evidence was not admissible. However, the police had earlier held the accused on the basis of a video which showed 55-year-old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan being pulled by the neck, thrown to the ground and kicked by a group of men. 

On the basis of video and other evidence, the police had arrested six men — Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kaluram, Dayaram, Yogesh Kumar alias Dholia, and Bhim Rathi — charging them under sections 147, 323, 341, 302, 308, 379 and 427 of the IPC, Public prosecutor Yogendra Khatana said. 

According to the defence lawyer Hukam Chand Sharma, the Pehlu Khan did not name the accused in his initial statement to the police which is why court gave a benefit of the doubt and acquitted all six accused. "The court also found the contradictions in the cause of death. The doctors at the government hospital had said he died of a heart attack but the post mortem report said that he died of injuries from the assault", Sharma told media. 

Moreover, according to Sharma, the man who recorded the video did not testify in court and moreover, the court observed that the quality of the video was not clear for the identification of the accused. 

The 55-year-old Pehlu Khan, a native of Nuh in Haryana, was allegedly beaten up by self-styled cow vigilantes near Behror in Rajasthan on April 1, 2017. He along with his two sons Azmat and Rafiq were on their way to Haryana after purchasing cattle in Jaipur. 

Injustice to our family

"From last years after I lost my father our entire family has been in the hope that justice will prevail. But so far nothing happened. We have been cheated by both BJP as well as Congress government. We will plead in the highest court", Irshad Khan, son of Pehlu Khan told DH while expressing his disappointment over the judgement. Irshad, 31 was one of the eyewitnesses to the incident. He was accompanying his father to buy a milch buffalo To increase milk production in Ramzan.

Case so far

So far seven FIRs have been lodged in the Behror police station, after the incident, one was in connection with the lynching whereas the six others were lodged for cattle smuggling. The sixth case under cattle smuggling was lodged on May 24 this year which finds Pehlu and his sons guilty for violating the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995.

Moreover, in the case pertaining to Pehlu’s lynching, seven accused were arrested and two minors detained. The chargesheet against all nine accused was submitted in the additional district judge’s court in Behror on February 25 this year.

Pehlu Khan's son Irshad had submitted an application to DGP Rajasthan demanding an impartial probe in the case. Following which police moved the application in the court for further investigation and the court gave its nod.

In 2017, the police had given clean chit to six people named by Pehlu Khan in his dying statement. But after the outrage made by social activists, the court ordered a reinvestigation.

Judgement comes two weeks after Rajasthan Assembly passes  Protection from Lynching Bill-2019

The verdict comes two weeks after the Rajasthan Assembly passed a bill providing for life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving the victim’s death. 

The Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill-2019 aimed at prevention and protection by appointing special judges for speedy trials of a victim's family. In case if the victim dies, as per the bill the guilty will be sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of rupees five lakh will also be imposed. However, if the victim suffers injuries, the convict will have to serve seven years of jail and fine of rupees one lakh. Moreover, if the injury is serious in that case guilty will have to serve ten years of imprisonment and fine of rupees 2.5 lakh.  

Status of Pehlu Khan case

Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer was attacked by an angry mob of cow vigilantes in Alwar's Nuh area on April 1, 2017.

On April 3, 2017: He succumbed to the injuries in a private clinic.

On April 5, 2017: A murder case was lodged against the alleged attackers a

May 2017: The case is transferred from deputy SP of Alwar to additional SP of Jaipur Rural 

June 2017: Case was transferred to CB CID 

September 2017: Clean chit was given to all six accused in the alleged lynching 

February 2018: Khan and two others charged for cow smuggling 

May 2019: Khan's name was in the chargesheet for transporting cattle without permission but his name was dropped on account of his death. 

In the charge sheet, the police claimed that on the basis of statements of witnesses offences under some Sections 5, 8, 9 of Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995 were made out against those travelling with him.

August 14, 2019: The court of Additional District Judge in Rajasthan's Alwar district acquitted all six men accused on the benefit of doubt, in the alleged lynching of 55-year-old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan.

On the basis of video and other evidence, the police had arrested six men — Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kaluram, Dayaram, Yogesh Kumar alias Dholia, and Bhim Rathi — charging them under sections 147, 323, 341, 302, 308, 379 and 427 of the IPC, Public prosecutor Yogendra Khatana said. 

The verdict comes two weeks after the Rajasthan Assembly passed a bill providing for life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving the victim’s death.

 

 

Comments (+)