A second chargesheet following the death of Haryana dairy farmer Pehlu Khan names two of his companions as accused and concludes that all three had indulged in ‘cow smuggling’ under state laws. The chargesheet was filed by Alwar police in the court of the Behror additional chief judicial magistrate on January 24. Following Khan’s lynching on April 1, police had registered two cases — one against Khan’s assailants for murder and another against Khan and his companions for ‘indulging in cow smuggling’.
The police had charged nine men with the murder of Khan after identifying them from video footage of the lynching. The case is being tried in the court, but another investigation in September last year had cleared six others who Khan named in the FIR as his assailants.
The police had cited mobile location details of the six men along with statements of policemen and testimonies of the staff of a local cow shelter in Behror to determine that none of the six were present at the time of the attack.
The January 24 chargesheet names four as accused – Azmat and Rafique who are from Khan’s village, Jaisinghpur in Haryana, Arjun Lal Yadav who was driving one of the two pickup trucks that were attacked on April 1 and his father Jagdish Prasad.
Pehlu and four others, among them his two sons, were returning from a cattle fair on Jaipur’s outskirts on April 1 and were headed to their homes in Haryana when they were attacked by cow vigilantes in Alwar’s Behror. The mob, calling Khan and his companions cattle smugglers, assaulted them. Pehlu died two days later and a video documenting the lynching went viral.
Both Azmat and Rafique were injured in the attack and Yadav too was roughed up by the mob before he managed to run away. “After completing the investigation and on the basis of statements of witnesses and evidence, offences under sections 5,8,9 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995 and Rules, 1995 stand proved against Azmat, Rafique and Arjun. Offences under Section 6 have been found proved against Jagdish Prasad,” stated the chargesheet.
Section 5 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995 and Rules, 1995 pertains to prohibition of export of bovine animals for the purpose of slaughter and regulation of temporary migration or export for other purposes.
According to Section 6 the transporter is also an abettor and is liable for the same punishment as the person committing the offence while Section 9 mentions punishment for causing hurt to a bovine animal. The police have alleged in the chargesheet that the accused didn’t have requisite permission to take the bovines out of Rajasthan.
“We didn’t get any documents…That’s why they have been found guilty of smuggling cows,” Head Constable Harun Khan from the Behror police station, who is the investigating officer told The Indian Express.
According to the Act, a competent authority, who is defined as the collector of a district or any other officer authorised by the state government can issue permits for migration of bovines outside Rajasthan.
“Is this justice? We were attacked and beaten up by the mob, and now we have been made the accused. I have the valid purchase receipt issued by the Jaipur Municipal Corporation. At the time of the purchase, nobody told us we needed additional permits,” said Azmat, who has been bedridden for several months after the attack, which he says resulted in serious injuries.
“I sustained injuries in the spinal chord as a result of the beating. More than Rs. one lakh has been spent on treatment and now we are paying for court expenses by mortgaging our belongings. We don’t know what to do,” said Azmat who currently lives with his family in Jaisinghpur.
Azmat and Rafique said they had no work and it had become increasingly hard for their families to earn money. Arjun Lal Yadav, who was driving one of the trucks that were attacked, has spent money on not just hospital bills but on repairing his vehicle, which was damaged in the attack.
“I know that I have got a second life because I managed to run away when they attacked us. More than Rs 1.5 lakh was spent on repairing the truck and even now the papers of the vehicle are with the police. Now, I don’t know how I will manage to pay for the court expenses,” said Yadav.
The police have also named his father Jagdish Prasad as an accused because the truck was registered in his name. Prasad was not with the trio at the time of the attack. Yadav now ferries vegetables in the outskirts of Jaipur and lives at his native village of Devpura near Chomu.
“Shouldn’t there be people from the government at the cattle market in Jaipur to complete all the paperwork after purchase of the animals? The people who gave us the purchase receipt knew we were from Haryana and would take the animals out of the state. Yet, we weren’t told about any additional paperwork,” said Azmat.