On a day the government constituted a four-member committee to suggest laws against mob violence, the Rajasthan police set up a panel to probe the allegation that Alwar cops delayed in taking Akbar Khan to a hospital after he was allegedly lynched by a group of people on the suspicion of cow smuggling. In a knee-jerk reaction, assistant sub-inspector Mohan Singh was suspended and two constables were shifted to police lines. The Home Ministry has also sought a detailed report from the Vasundhara Raje-led government about the incident.
Was Akbar beaten by Alwar police?
Acknowledging that there was a delay in taking the victim to the community health centre, which was just 4 km away from the lynching spot in Lalwandi, Director General of Police (DGP) O P Galhotra said, “A four-member committee of senior police officials is in Alwar to inquire into the matter.” The DGP also said it would also be probed whether Akbar, alias Rakbar Khan, died after being thrashed by police on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.
Akbar was transporting cows on foot along with an associate, Aslam Khan, when they were allegedly stopped by villagers in Lalawandi. While Rakbar was attacked, Aslam managed to escape. The police allegedly took close to three hours to take Akbar to the Ramgarh Community Health Centre, which is roughly four kilometres from the crime spot. It has been learnt that police had allegedly stopped to have tea and got his clothes changed at the police station before taking him to the health centre.
The FIR registered in the case, however, mentioned that Akbar was taken directly to the health centre, where he was declared brought dead. While two people, Dharmendra Yadav and Paramjeet Singh, were arrested on Saturday, the third accused, Naresh Singh, was arrested on Sunday and have been remanded to police custody for five days.
Contempt petition against govt filed in Supreme Court
Meanwhile, a contempt petition was filed against the Rajasthan government in the Supreme Court, which will take it up on August 28. The petitioners, Tushar Gandhi and Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala, alleged that incidents of mob lynching and vigilantism were taking place in Rajasthan despite an apex court verdict in this regard.
On September 6, 2017, the SC had asked all states to take stern measures to stop violence in the name of cow protection, including appointing senior police officers as nodal officers in every district within a week.
Alwar lynching incident raised in Parliament
The Alwar lynching incident, which comes a year after dairy farmer Pehlu Khan faced the same fate, also echoed in the Parliament on Monday. Congress Lok Sabha MP Karan Singh Yadav raised the issue during Zero Hour, saying those who claimed to be ‘gau-rakshak’ (cow protectors) were behind the murder amid protests by some BJP members. In the Rajya Sabha, CPI leader D Raja submitted a suspension of business notice over the Alwar lynching incident.
Rahul Gandhi leads Opposition charge
However, the Opposition charge over the gruesome incident was led by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who said hatred had replaced humanity in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “brutal” ‘New India’, citing a report regarding the lynching case. “Policemen in Alwar took three hours to get a dying Rakbar Khan, the victim of a lynch mob, to a hospital just six km away. Why? They took a tea-break en route. This is Modi’s brutal ‘New India,” Gandhi tweeted.
Policemen in #Alwar took 3 hrs to get a dying Rakbar Khan, the victim of a lynch mob, to a hospital just 6 KM away.
They took a tea-break enroute.
This is Modi’s brutal “New India” where humanity is replaced with hatred and people are crushed and left to die. https://t.co/sNdzX6eVSU
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 23, 2018
The tweet seemed to have hit a nerve with the ruling party as three Union ministers pounced upon the Gandhi scion’s remarks within hours. While acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal calling Rahul a ‘merchant of hate’, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani accusing him of practising ‘vulture politics’. Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore asked the Congress chief not to use a crime for political gains.
Shiv Sena stings BJP again
BJP’s cantankerous ally Shiv Sena also rubbed it in, with party chief Uddhav Thackeray saying cows were safer than women in the country. “While protecting cows, India has become the most unsafe country for women. One should be ashamed of it. You want to save ‘gau-mata’ (cow) but what about ‘mata’ (mother),” Thackeray said in an interview with Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.