The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday sent notices to the Centre and Rajasthan government on lynching of a man by cow vigilantes in Alwar and sought reports in four weeks. Taking suo motu cognizance of the incident, the commission termed the attack by ‘Gau Rakshaks’ as “painful”.
“This is a serious issue of violation of human rights of the victims. Self-proclaimed volunteers creating an atmosphere of fear in society by taking law in their hands are required to be dealt with strictly as per law. The State has a responsibility to remain vigilant to prevent such activities,” the NHRC stated, adding that the Alwar incident was “not the first of its kind that has come to commission’s notice”. “Last year July, four Dalit boys were severely beaten up and dragged in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat,” the Commission said.
The commission’s intervention comes a day after Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi created a stir in the Rajya Sabha when he said “jis tarah ki ghatna pesh ki jaa rahi hai, aisi koi ghatna zameen par nahi hui hai ( the kind of incident that is being presented has not occurred on the ground)”.
The NHRC has issued the notice to Rajasthan chief secretary, seeking a detail report and action taken against the culprits. It stated: “The brutal assault resulted in the death of a person. However, reportedly, the Rajasthan Police registered an FIR against the victims of assault for illegally transporting cattle for slaughter… though they were dairy farmers carrying cows legally purchased under a receipt and stamp of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation.”
Citing media reports, the commission said: “The family members of the deceased, a dairy farmer, stated that the victims showed the attackers the receipt of legally purchased cows but they continued to thrash them. They snatched their wallets and cash of about Rs 1 lakh as well as cellphones.”
In its notice to the Union Home Secretary, the NHRC sought its response over the steps taken or proposed by the Centre “to deal with such incidents in the country.”
No communal angle to death: Rajasthan Minister
A day after Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s comments on the death of a dairy farmer by Gau Rakshaks in Alwar created a stir in Parliament, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said the incident did take place and the man was killed after being caught for smuggling cows.
Kataria said there was no communal angle to the killing. The FIR records in Rajasthan show that there were both Hindus and Muslims caught for smuggling cows, he said. “It is not about Hindu or Muslim. They were into an illegal activity and we have filed cases against everyone involved,” he said.
The minister said the police had nabbed three of the assailants and announced a reward for information on the rest of them. “Whoever takes the law in their hands will be punished,” he said.
When asked about Naqvi’s statement in the Rajya Sabha, he said, “I don’t know what he said. I am the Home Minister and I have day-to-day information on what happens in the state.”
Rajasthan government sends report to Centre
Three suspects have been arrested and a special police team has been constituted to arrest the remaining accused involved in the lynching of Pehlu Khan while he was returning to Nuh in Haryana after purchasing a cow in Jaipur, the Rajasthan government has said in its report to the Centre. The report said that the police reached the spot in Alwar and rescued four people and immediately rushed them to hospital. It added that Khan succumbed to injuries four days later. Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder) was added to the FIR after Khan’s death, the report said.
The Centre had sought the report from BJP-ruled Rajasthan after Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P J Kurien asked the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to make a statement on the lynching in the House. Singh is expected to make the statement on Monday.