In the third such incident in just over a year in Alwar district, one man was lynched and another beaten up by villagers on suspicion of cow smuggling on Friday night.
The victim, Akbar alias Rakbar, was transporting cows on foot along with an associate, Aslam, when they were allegedly stopped by villagers in Lalawandi, under Alwar’s Ramgarh police jurisdiction, Ramgarh Police Station Sub-Inspector Subhash Chand said.
IG, Jaipur Range, Hemant Priyadarshi said two persons have been arrested while search is on to nab other accused. Police said they were yet to establish if the two cows were being smuggled. The animals have been taken to a gaushala.
As per the FIR, lodged by Assistant S-I Mohan Singh, posted at Ramgarh, Akbar was alive when police found him. He told police Aslam and he had bought two cows from Ladpur and were going back to their village in Haryana via Lalawandi. “He said some locals stopped them, and suspecting them to be cow smugglers, started assaulting them. He said that while Aslam managed to escape, unknown locals beat him up with sticks which led to serious injuries on his arms, legs and all over his body. He then collapsed and we took him in our police jeep to Ramgarh CHC where doctors declared him dead,” the FIR states.
While the FIR, lodged on Saturday morning, states Akbar’s age as 28, his date of birth in his Aadhaar card is 1/1/1987, making him 32 years old. A case has been lodged under several sections including 302 dealing with murder.
Reacting to the incident, Union Minister of State of Finance, and Bikaner MP, Arjun Ram Meghwal called it part of a “conspiracy”, the result of “rising popularity of PM Modi” and “a reaction to the impact of his schemes”. “This is a state issue. We have issued an advisory and will stop it and the PM himself has spoken on it. But this is not a single incident. Jaise jaise Modiji popular hote jayenge, aisi aisi kuchch ghatnayen is desh mein aatin rahengi. Jaise Bihar ka chunav hua, award wapsi hua. UP ka chunav aayega, mob lynching aayega. 2019 ka chunav aa raha hai phir kuchch aayega, kabhi intolerance. Modiji ne jo yojnayen deen aur uska asar dharatal par dikh raha hai, uska ek reaction hai (Such incidents will rise as PM Modi’s popularity grows. Awards were returned around Bihar polls… mob lynchings happened around UP polls, and something, intolerance, will come up again around the 2019 elections. All this is a reaction to the impact of Modi’s schemes),” he said.
The FIR lodged by police says they had rushed to the spot on being alerted by one Naval Kishore Sharma, at 12.41 am on Saturday, that “some people are smuggling cows from Rajasthan to Haryana on foot”. Police say as they approached, some people ran away. “We found two persons, Dharmendra Yadav and Paramjeet Singh Sardar, standing with two cows. An injured and muddied man was also found lying nearby. We shone torchlight on him and poured some water on him to wash away the mud and enquired about his name. He identified himself as Akbar alias Rakbar, 28, son of Suleiman and resident of Kolgaon village in Haryana’s Firozpur, and that he is a Sunni Mev Muslim.”
After questioning, police arrested Dharmendra Yadav and Paramjeet Singh.
Akbar’s father Suleiman told The Sunday Express he had left home on Friday at about 9-10 am. “He was a labourer. We hope for justice from the government.” Akbar had seven children with wife Asmina, the eldest being a 14-year-old girl while the youngest is still an infant. He is survived by two brothers, a sister and mother Habeeban.
After post-mortem, the body was handed over to relatives, who decided to bury Akbar on Saturday itself.
In April last year, Pehlu Khan had been lynched by “cow vigilantes” in Alwar, followed by the November killing of alleged cow smuggler Ummar in the district.
Unlike previous occasions, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was quick to condemn the incident and directed the DGP to take quick action. “The incident of alleged lynching of a person transporting bovines in Alwar district is condemnable. Strictest possible action shall be taken against the perpetrators,” she tweeted.
In another departure from her usual tweets, she also responded to a Twitter user who told her, “You need to stop this, Ma’am. Rajasthan was never known for news like these and it pains to read this as a Rajasthani.” The CM responded: “I agree with you. Such behaviour is certainly abhorrent and despicable — and not characteristic of Rajasthan. We shall make all efforts to prevent such instances.”
Former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said, “Most shocking, horrific and unfortunate incident. A man was lynched by a mob in Alwar despite Hon’ble Supreme Court’s warnings and instructions… The Rajasthan government has failed to check such heinous crimes. For the BJP, human life has no value. Criminals guised as vigilantes are roaming freely without fear of law and order. The PM remains silent on such cases of lynchings and the state CM orders customary inquiries, wherein the actual accused are hardly arrested or punished.”
In his reaction, Meghwal also repeated what Union minister Rajnath Singh had said regarding lynchings during the no-confidence motion debate in Parliament on Friday. “Mob lynching shouldn’t happen and we condemn it. But this is not a single incident. You have to go back to history. What happened with Sikhs in 1984 was the nation’s biggest mob lynching,” he said.