Rosamma Thomas| TNN |
JAIPUR: Social activists and politicians gathered at Ambedkar Circle in Jaipur to seek justice for dairy farmer Pehlu Khan who lost his life a month ago on April 3. Khan was so brutally thrashed by goons calling themselves ‘gau rakshaks’ that he died after spending two days at hospital. The attack occurred at Behror in Alwar district on April 1. Khan was transporting legally acquired cows to his home in Haryana.
On Wednesday, Sumitra Chopra of CPI-M said that all six named in the FIR still walk free, one month after the murder. The police have made arrests of over 10 people so far, but none of them was named by Khan. “A police contingent was here as we gathered just now, to inform us that Section 144 of CrPC is in force here. They told us we could not gather here. Police are out to hound those protesting, as murderers walk free.”
Chopra said chief minister Vasundhara Raje had received a petition from those protesting Pehlu’s death for the fourth time, but has never once condescended to meet either protesters or kin of the slain man, who had recently joined a meeting in Jaipur.
Another speaker mentioned that no official or state government representative from either Haryana or Rajasthan had thought fit to visit grieving relatives of the slain man.
Others travelling with Khan, his sons and neighbours, were also attacked. The spine of Azmat, who was travelling with Pehlu, was broken in the attack. Victim Rafeeq sustained a broken nose and ribs.
“No compensation has yet been offered to the families of either Pehlu or the others attacked,” said Chopra, reading out the petition submitted on Wednesday to the chief minister. In their petition, protesters have demanded Rs 1 crore as compensation to the kin of Pehlu Khan and sums of Rs 25 lakh to each of the injured.
Dr Iqbal Siddiqui of Jamaat e Islami Hind said hope of justice was bleak – those in power are influencing courts too. “However, we can only continue to struggle for justice. The attack on Pehlu was part of a larger strategy of attack on farmers and those tending to livestock. The principle of democracy rests in numbers, and we must muster the numbers to overcome this discourse of hatred. Victory is not in our hands, but in the Almighty’s. What is in our power is only to struggle.”
Archana Sharma of the Congress said the appalling threat to ordinary human rights under this regime needs to be fought. She expressed shock that in a recent attack, a cattle transporter in UP was first attacked and almost blinded. His attackers later expressed remorse on getting to know that their victim was Hindu.