Rajasthan: A group of about 15 men were attacked on Saturday by a mob while transporting cows they reportedly bought at a fair in Jaipur. The men found themselves suddenly surrounded by a large unruly mob who thrashed them mercilessly, resulting in one casualty.
The deceased Pehlu Khan (55) who hails from Haryana, and his companions were attacked on Behror highway in Alwar, Rajasthan. While Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries on Monday, an unknown number of men are reportedly still admitted with grave injuries. They are reported to have been attacked despite showing documentary evidence that the animals were bought at a fair. They were headed from Jaipur to Haryana.
The police have stated that 10 arrests have been made in the case so far. Cases have been filed against the attackers under IPC Section 143 – unlawful assembly, IPC Section 323 – voluntarily causing harm, IPC Section 341 – wrongful restraint, IPC Section 147 – destruction of property, IPC Section 308 – culpable homicide, IPC Section 379 – theft. Pehlu Khan’s death has prompted the authorities to add IPC Section 302 – murder, to the list of charges.
The attacked group of men who were transporting the animals are facing allegations of illegal cow trafficking. They have been charged under Rajasthan Bovine Animals Act (1995), which prohibits slaughter.
APATHY BY OFFICIALS
Gulab Chand Kataria, Minister of Home (state) has surprisingly come to the defence of the attackers, calling them ‘Gau Bhakts’. He has laid the blame primarily on the injured party by alleging illegal cow trafficking. About the attackers, he has said that taking the law in one’s own hand is wrong, urging action against both sides.
Certain reports quote police officer Ramesh Chand Sinsinwar stating that cow vigilantes network with right-wing hardliners, and often stop vehicles to check if cows are being smuggled. The entire issue of cow protection has come to the fore ever since BJP-ruled states like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have taken drastic steps to shut down slaughterhouses which they claim are illegal.
CALL FOR ACTION
This is not the first time that a man has lost his life due to mob lynching. In 2015, 52 year old Mohammed Akhlaq was killed after being accused of slaughtering a stolen cow calf in Uttar Pradesh. His son Danish was gravely injured in the attack.
There have been several reports of such incidents and their increasing frequency rate is alarming. The incident has prompted sharp outcry against these self styled vigilante groups wreaking havoc under the guise of protecting society. A large number of people are raising their voices, calling for an end to this unwarranted system of moral policing.