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Gujarat: 'The Cow Vigilantes Who Killed My Brother, Grew Up in Front of Us'

Misri Khan was lynched while he was on his way to another village to drop off a few buffaloes at his sister's place.

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(Trigger Warning: This story contains some details of graphic violence).

In the wee hours of 23 May around 5:30 am, Misri Khan Baloch had left his house along with driver Hussain Khan in Mahindra Bolero with a few buffaloes for chappi village, Banaskantha district in Gujarat. However, 'cow vigilantes' damaged the tyres of his vehicle and allegedly beat Misri to death on the road.

They killed him because of his identity. They hit him with sticks and iron rods on his heads, so much so that we could see parts of his skull, the insides were visible. His head was bleeding and there were bruises on his shoulder, back and waist.
Sher Khan, Misri's elder brother to The Quint

Misri, a 40-year-old labourer and part-time farmer, belonged to Sesan Nava village and was on is way to deliver the buffaloes and his sister, Fatimaben for taking care of them before they are sent to factories.

However, 7-8 suspected cow vigilantes first punctured their vehicle by throwing iron nails on the ground and attempted to extort money from Misri. Then 50-60 men gathered and crowded them.

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The driver Hussain, who was caught at first, managed to flee. But he went to inform the family and hence, was saved from the mob.

"These men have been forcing all the poor labourers who transport cattle to collectively give them Rs 2 lakh per month. We barely earn enough to support our families, how can we give them money?" questioned Sher Khan.
Misri Khan was lynched while he was on his way to another village to drop off a few buffaloes at his sister's place.

Bache Khan, the eldest of the three brothers with Misri's body.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

"The police was there by the time we reached, although the Agthala police station is just 100 meters away," said Sher Khan.

The Quint has also accessed the FIR which states that main accused - Akheraj Singh, Vatam, Nikul, Mojru, Pravin Singh - live near their village.

The FIR charges include IPC sections 302 (punishment for murder) 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 147 (punishment for rioting) 148, (being armed with a deadly weapon) 143 (unlawful assembly), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation), 120 (concealing design to commit offence) and section 135 of the Gujarat Police Act.

'The Accused Have Grown Up In Front Of Me'

The FIR reads that, "Akheraj threatened them and said, 'we will kill you but not let you leave,'" further explaining Misri's condition looked like "he died from the severe blow he received from the iron stick and sharp sticks on his head and other parts of his body."

However, speaking to The Quint, PH Jadeja, Sub-Inspector at Agthala police station has refused to call it a 'mob-lynching,' per say:

We have arrested 13 people till now, including the main accused, Akheraj. But let me clarify that this is not mob lynching as the complainant has mentioned that it was Akheraj who had beaten him in his head. It doesn't come under the definition of mob lynching.
PH Jadeja, PSI, Agthala

There was also old enmity among these groups, the police official said.

On the other hand, Sher Khan said that the accused men live close to their house in the village.

"These men have grown up in front of me, Akheraj's farm is right next to ours. We have known and their families since they were children. Over the past year or so, they got into cow vigilantism and became radicalised and hateful. And today, that hatred and greed to earn killed our loved one," remarked a distraught Sher Khan.
Misri Khan was lynched while he was on his way to another village to drop off a few buffaloes at his sister's place.

Misri's body was left in the vehicle after he was killed.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Sher Khan also alleged that earlier too, Akheraj had beaten up someone in a village and forced him to shout 'Jai Sri Ram.' He was also booked under PASA (Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act).

He also feels that the police does "nothing do anything to stop it" and the accused have been seen "roaming around with the police."

Children Say 'Papa Has Gone to Work'

His brother, paused during our phone conversation and then said, "If you look at Misri now, your heart will ache. The way his body was, in blood, if you could look at it, you wouldn't believe it."

The family buried Misri at 5 pm on the same day he was killed.

He is now survived by his wife, Jivibai who's visually impaired, two sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Jivibai reeling from the shock, choked up while talking about Misri.

I told the kids, 'He's gone to earn, he'll come back.' They're saying, 'Papa gaye mazdoori karne.' But they have seen that I haven't stopped crying.
Jivibai, Misri Khan's wife
Misri Khan was lynched while he was on his way to another village to drop off a few buffaloes at his sister's place.

Misri, along with his wife and children.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Jivibai, a labourer herself, said she was calling Misri but to no avail and found out later that he had died.

"I feel like like he was just here some hours ago." Jivibai, crying added, "Both of us had lost our parents so he was my support and I was his. He was the kind of person who used to be happy always and made us laugh too. He was the light of my life."

Misri Khan was lynched while he was on his way to another village to drop off a few buffaloes at his sister's place.

Misri's photo posted by one of their family members.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Meanwhile, Sher Khan, remembering his brother, noted, "All Hindus and Muslims in our village knew him and his truck, many times he gave our villagers a ride as well. He helped them as much as they could, irrespective of their religion."

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