46 Lynched In Country Since April 2017Dishank Purohit, Rajendra Sharma & Chetna Choudhry TNN
The chilling run of lynch mobs continues.
A 31-year-old Muslim man from Haryana’s Mewat district became its latest victim, in Rajasthan’s Alwar, late on Friday. Rakbar Khan, who was allegedly attacked by a group of 8-10 cow vigilantes, succumbed to his injuries in hospital a few hours later. In his dying statement, Rakbar told police that he and his friend Aslam were walking back with two cows they had bought when they came under attack in Ramgarh, with the mob accusing them of being smugglers taking the cattle for slaughter.
Last April, Mewat dairy farmer Pehlu Khan (55) had been killed the same way, in Alwar. Two of Rakbar’s alleged attackers—Dharmendra Yadav and Parmjeet Singh— were arrested on Saturday.
Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje tweeted, “The incident of alleged lynching of a person transporting bovines in Alwar is condemnable. Strictest possible action shall be taken against the perpetrators.”
‘We walked with cows as they wouldn’t climb into truck’
The attack on Rakbar Khan comes just two days after the horror inflicted by lynch mobs resonated in the SC, which said horrendous acts of mobocracy could not be allowed to become the norm and directed that a law be drafted to rein in this terror. And just hours before the attack on him, the lynching issue had figured prominently in the Parliament showdown between the opposition and the government during the no-confidence motion.
Between the lynching of Pehlu and Rakbar, India has seen 44 such killings. While Jharkhand (13) has witnessed the maximum lynchings, it is followed by Maharashtra (8), Tripura (5), Tamil Nadu (5), Rajasthan (3), Telangana (3), Uttar Pradesh
(3), Karnataka (2), Assam (2), Gujarat (1) and Chhattisgarh (1). The bulk of the recent attacks has been triggered by viral rumours of child-lifters. In Rajasthan, all three lynching cases have been reported from Alwar.
Rakbar, also known as Akbar, lived with his family, which includes seven children, in Kol village of Ferozpur Jhirka in Mewat. His family said Rakbar was a dairy farmer. He owned three cows and wanted to buy two more to expand his business, which is why he had gone to Alwar.
Rajasthan police, however, said Rakbar had been booked in a cattle smuggling case at Naugaon in 2014. ASP Anil Kumar Beniwal said Rakbar had been booked under sections 5 and 8 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995.
Rakbar and Aslam had bought the cows in Khanpur and were on their way home when they came under attack in Lalawandi village a little after Friday midnight. Rakbar was battered with sticks, and sustained fractures and several injuries. Aslam, who managed to escape and return to Kol, was still in shock on Saturday morning. “We bought two cows from Khanpur. We tried to load the animals into a pick-up truck but they wouldn’t climb in. So, we decided to walk back home despite the rain,” he told TOI.
The vigilantes had taken cover in the cotton fields they were passing through. “We heard a gunshot. I hid but they spotted Rakbar with the cows and started to chase him. Two men carried guns while others had sticks. They didn’t shout or threaten, just kept running after him. I didn’t see Rakbar after that,” Aslam said.
Alwar police was tipped off at 12.41am by Naval Kishore Sharma, who is believed to have ties with several rightwing groups and has been in the past involved in operations against cow smugglers.