Cleared by Rajasthan Police’s CB-CID, the men accused of assaulting Haryana dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in Alwar, reportedly absconding with a reward of Rs 5,000 on them, have resurfaced and claim that justice has been delivered to them. Om Prakash, one of the accused, said on Friday, “The truth is before everyone. You know what sort of problems one goes through when one is unexpectedly associated with a case…aapne makkhi nahi maari aur aapko sher ke shikaar ka naam laga diya jaaye (You did not kill even a fly and you are accused of hunting a lion).”
Pehlu Khan and others, including his two sons, were allegedly attacked by self-proclaimed gau rakshaks in Alwar on April 1 while they were on way back home after buying cattle from Jaipur. Khan succumbed to injuries two days later. In his statement to the police, he had named Om Prakash, Hukum Chand, Navin Sharma, Sudheer, Rahul Saini and Jagmal as the men who attacked him. The Rajasthan CB-CID has said it found no evidence of the involvement of the six men in the assault and cleared them of accusations.
According to CB-CID officials, none of the six was present in the video and photographs of the assault; their phone records showed their locations in a different area; and eyewitnesses placed them elsewhere. Sudheer, another former accused, said that he didn’t have much to say, as his name was first included, and then removed, without him being involved in the incident. “Yes, I am relieved by the clean chit,” he said. Asked how his named cropped up, Sudheer said, “Those who included it should know.” Naresh Saini, father of Rahul Saini, said, “There were hardships (for Rahul), incredible hardships, but let’s leave it now.”
While Navin didn’t agree to speak, his friend Suresh Yadav termed the accusations a “huge mistake.” Yadav said, “Inclusion of his name in the FIR was a mischief. The SHO (Ramesh Sinsinwar, then SHO of Behror police station) should be investigated. He (Navin) is a well-known accounts teacher.”
On Friday, several social activists, including Kavita Srivastava, Nikhil Dey, Nisha Sidhu, Rashid Hussain, wrote an open letter to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and lodged their protest on the clean chit to the six accused. They demanded the arrest of the six. While Alwar SP Rahul Prakash had maintained that the six were “absconding” with a Rs 5,000 reward on each of them, CB-CID Additional SP Govind Detha said that the men were issued summons in August. “We issued summons and spoke to them to corroborate the claims,” Detha said.
Earlier in the day, author and activist Harsh Mander’s Karwan-e-Mohabbat (caravan of love) reached Behror, where he paid obeisance to Pehlu Khan at the site of his assault. A mob threatened to disrupt the caravan but was deterred by police presence. They threw a few stones on the bus in which Mander and others were travelling. No one was injured.