On the day Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced that the state government will bring a law against mob lynching, a 28-year-old was allegedly assaulted by locals in Alwar, who succumbed to his injuries two days later.
Harish Jatav, succumbed to his injuries on Thursday evening following an alleged assault on July 16 by locals for accidentally running his bike into a 55-year-old woman, his relatives say.
Alwar SP Paris Deshmukh said, “On July 16 Harish Jatav was on his way back from Bhiwadi when he met with an accident in Phalsa village with Hakeeman, 55, who was crossing the road. Harish, who was alone on his bike, fell down and the woman too sustained injured. After being informed by locals, the police reached the spot and took Harish to a hospital, which administered his first aid and referred him to Delhi, where he was admitted in Safdarjung Hospital. Next day, on July 17, Hakeeman as well as Rattiram, Harish’s father, submitted separate complaints at Chopanki police station into the accident. In his complaint, Rattiram alleged that some people had assaulted Harish.”
The SP, however, said “Investigation so far, including accounts by independent eyewitnesses, does not point to a mob lynching.” He said that post-mortem is being conducted at Safdarjung Hospital and things will be clearer once the post-mortem report is received.
However, Harish’s family insists that he was assaulted by locals. Harish’s uncle Jaswant said Harish, who worked as a truck driver, did not regain consciousness ever since he was attacked by the mob.
“On July 16, Harish was coming from Bhiwadi where he works as a truck driver. That day he had completed his duty for the day, had parked his truck in Bhiwadi, and was headed back home. Around 7 pm, he accidentally ran his bike into an old lady in Phalsa village, about six kilometres from our village Jhivana. The woman started shouting and locals gathered on the spot. They then beat him up mercilessly till his body stopped moving. The locals then called the police to inform about an accident; the police then informed us. He was injured on his head and was so badly assaulted that his nose, ears and mouth wouldn’t stop bleeding, so the doctors told us to take him to Delhi,” Jaswant said.
Harish’s family members say that he was of a “strong built”, and hence it must have taken multiple people to overpower and assault him.
The SP said that Harish did indeed sustain head injuries but added that at the time of accident, he was not wearing a helmet. “The confirmation (whether it was a lynching) will come from the post-mortem report,” Deshmukh said.
In his complaint, Harish’s father Rattiram, 60, had named one Umar Sher, a contractor, and unnamed others, as the accused. An FIR was lodged under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) as well as the SC ST Act, following his complaint.
Rattiram accuses the police of lying. “They told me it was an accident, but if it was so severe then how come he sustained fatal injuries while the woman was barely hurt,” he says, adding that Harish didn’t regain consciousness, let alone speak a word, ever since the accident.
Hakeeman’s husband Jamaluddin, 65, too filed a complaint against Harish, accusing him of driving fast when he rammed his motorcycle into his wife. “She had lost consciousness following the accident. My sons Saraju and Ajru witnessed the accident and we rushed to the spot, where we found that the biker was intoxicated,” Jamaluddin had alleged in his police complaint. An FIR under IPC sections 279 (rash driving) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) was lodged following his complaint.
Harish is survived by wife Rekha, with whom he had four daughters, the eldest around 12 years old.
July 16 was when CM Gehlot, speaking in the State Assembly, had termed mob lynching as “disturbing” and had announced that his government will frame a law against such acts. Earlier, following a spate of heinous crimes in Alwar, the CM had also announced that the district will be divided in two police zones.