WHEN PEHLU Khan, 55, set out on the 240-km road trip from his home in Jaisinghpur village, in Nuh tehsil of Mewat, to Jaipur last Friday, he was planning to buy a milch buffalo. A dairy farmer, he was hoping to increase milk production during Ramzan. But on Saturday, he decided to buy a milch cow instead, as the seller extracted 12 litres of milk in front of him and offered him a good deal. That decision cost him his life.
“That was the worst decision ever. It took my father’s life,” said his son Irshad, 24. He and his brother, Aarif, were with Khan when they were attacked by gau rakshaks in Behror area of Alwar, on National Highway 8, on Saturday evening. Khan succumbed to injuries on Monday.
“My father was in a pickup truck with a Rajasthan numberplate, along with Azmat, who is also from our village. There were two cows and two calves in the truck. Irshad, I and another villager were in the other pickup truck which had three cows and three calves,” said Aarif. He recounted how the gau rakshaks stopped their vehicles, dragged them out and assaulted them with sticks and belts. Stating that the police came about 20-30 minutes later, he said they were almost unconscious by then.
The gau rakshaks reportedly accused them of illegally smuggling cows for slaughter. The Rajasthan police have also registered an FIR against them for illegally transporting cattle for slaughter, based on a complaint filed by a person identified as Damodar Singh. The FIR states that Khan and the others did not have a purchase document or receipt.
But Irshad claimed they had receipts to show that they had purchased the cows. Showing the receipt, which has the stamp of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (serial number 89942 dated April 1, 2017), he said: “I don’t know how an FIR was registered stating that that we had no purchase receipt. I bought the cows for Rs 45,000.”
The five men were also robbed of their wallets and cellphones. Irshad reportedly had about Rs 75,000 while another person lost about Rs 35,000.
While most of the villagers in Jaisinghpur are farmers, there are about 10 dairy farmers. Pehlu Khan was one of them. On Friday, four other dairy farmers from the village had also travelled to Jaipur to buy buffaloes and cows. Zakir Khan, the biggest dairy farmer in the village, was among them.
Zakir said he was carrying a cow, a calf and a buffalo in his pickup truck. He reached the spot where Pehlu Khan and the others were attacked about 45 minutes after the incident. “When I reached the spot, there were around 200 people along with the police. I saw Pehlu Khan’s vehicle and learnt that they had been beaten up. I escaped,” he said.
Zakir, who buys milk from the smaller dairy farmers in the village, confirmed that Pehlu Khan was one of his suppliers. He dug out his records to show that Irshad had been supplying milk to him for the last four years.
“The difference in cost is at least Rs 20,000 when we buy cattle from Jaipur,” said Zakir, showing receipts to prove that he had bought cows and buffaloes from Jaipur several times in the past too. “I bought a cow last year,” he said.
Meanwhile, the police are yet to arrest the six named in the attack — Hukum Chand, Jagmal, Om Prakash, Sudheer, Rahul Saini and Navin Saini. According to the FIR, the accused told Pehlu Khan that “whoever passes Behror with a cow will be beaten up”.