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A man named Akbar Khan was beaten to death by a mob, who accused him of cow smuggling in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on Friday, 20 July, reported ANI.
Khan and his associate, Aslam, were transporting cattle from their home in Kolgaon village, Zilla Ferozepur in Haryana, to Ramgarh when they were attacked, Hindustan Times reported.
The mob caught the two men, who were on foot, and brutally beat them. Khan, 28, died on the spot, while Aslam survived, reported NDTV.
On 22 July, Aslam told ANI that he and Khan were travelling with two cows when they were attacked.
When the cows saw a speeding bike, they ran into the fields from where 6-7 people opened fire on us.Aslam
Aslam said he fled the spot because he was frightened. “Later, I found that my friend Akbar was killed,” he told the news agency.
Police First Took Cows to Shelter, Then Victim to Hospital: Reports
Multiple news reports, quoting eyewitnesses, claim that the police took more than half-an-hour to reach the spot where an injured Akbar lay in the mud. The police, according to The Indian Express, which traced the chain of events, picked up Akbar from the spot, washed him, stopped to have tea, got his clothes changed at the police station and then took him to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
NDTV reported that the police even arranged a vehicle to ferry seized cows to a shelter before taking the victim to the hospital, barely 4 km away from the spot where the unfortunate incident came to pass.
Police Beat Akbar to Death: Eyewitnesses
Media reports also quoted eyewitnesses alleging the police officials to thrashing Akbar to death."... The police took Akbar to the police station where some of them started thrashing him in the presence of assistant sub-inspector Mohan Singh, Kishore told Deccan Herald, questioning the chain of incidents that took the police three hours to travel a distance that otherwise takes just 12 minutes.
According to an NDTV report, an eyewitness said she had seen the police beat and abuse the injured man. Maya, the 61-year-old woman, also a relative of Sharma, told Hindustan Times: “I saw the police kicking a man (Khan) lying in mud and abusing him. When I went there to see what was happening, they told me to go away."
Unclear if Men Were Cow Smugglers: Cops
The IG of Jaipur Range told ANI that two suspects had been nabbed from the spot after their involvement in the crime was ascertained. He said that a post mortem was being done on Khan’s body, while efforts were on to identify the rest of the culprits. Meanwhile, the ASP of Alwar, Anil Beniwal, said that it was not yet clear whether the two men were cow smugglers.
Khan’s father Suleiman demanded the arrest of the culprits. In response to ANI’s question about whether a case had previously been lodged against Khan, Suleiman confirmed that there was a case, adding "it happened a long time ago."
Ministers and Politicos React to the Lynching
Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje condemned the incident, saying that the strictest action would be taken against the perpetrators.
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said that there was no guarantee that a the menace of mob lynching could be controlled by law alone.
BJP minister and Union Minister of State Arjun Ram Meghwal said that while the incident was condemnable, it was not the first of its kind. The 1984 Sikh riots was the “biggest example of lynching in Indian history,” he alleged. He also said that more incidents would occur as Modi grew popular.
“In Bihar election it was 'Award Wapsi', during Uttar Pradesh election it was mob lynching. In 2019 elections it will be something else,” Meghwal said.
Senior Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot took to Twitter to condemn the incident, slamming the Rajasthan government over its failure to check such “heinous crimes.”
Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said that there was no place for mob violence in the country.
Congress leader Sachin Pilot urged the state government to take appropriate action.
The government has not done anything to curb such violence. They are instead encouraging such acts by not taking enough action.Sachin Pilot to ANI
Not a First in Alwar
This is not the first instance of lynching in Alwar. In 2017, Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, was beaten to death by a mob over allegations of cow smuggling.
In November 2017, a man named Umar Mohammed was found dead near the railway tracks in Alwar. His family told Hindustan Times that he had been killed by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes
Khan’s killing comes four days after the Supreme Court asked the Centre to draft a law to penalise mob violence. The apex court opined that no citizen should take power into their own hands and that the government must act to prevent the same.
The incident came less than 24 hours after PM Modi said in his speech to the Lok Sabha: "incidents of violence are against the basic principles of humanity. I once again urge the states to take strict action in such cases."
(With inputs from Hindustan Times and NDTV.)