A 55-year-old Muslim man, who was allegedly assaulted by vigilantes on suspicion of cow smuggling two days ago, died at a hospital in Alwar on Monday night. The man, identified as Pehlu Khan was among the five people admitted to the hospital after a group of 15-odd vigilantes attacked them on Saturday evening. Those attacked claimed they had valid documents to prove they had purchased the cows.
“Gau rakshaks affiliated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal stopped four vehicles, near Jaguwas crossing on National Highway 8, on Saturday evening, alleging that they were illegally transporting bovines. These vehicles were coming from Jaipur and were headed towards Nuh district in Haryana,” Ramesh Chand Sinsinwar, SHO, Behror police station told The Indian Express.
TRIGGER WARNING: Violence.
“Before he died, Pehlu told us that they beat him up and then told him to run, saying ‘tu buddha aadmi hai, bhaag’ (you’re an old man, run away)… But they chased him and beat him up again,” Khan’s relative Hussain Khan, told the paper.
The four other victims – Azmat, Irshad, Aarif, and Rafiq- returned to Nuh on Tuesday.
The victims have alleged that Kailash Hospital in Behror, where the men were hospitalised, didn’t provide them with proper care. “Everyone at the hospital was looking down at us… Pehlu died because he didn’t receive proper care,” Azmat’s brother, Yusuf, told The Indian Express. The director of the hospital, Shyam Sunder Sharma, has denied these charges. He told the paper that the victims were offered discounts on the fees and police protection too.
While videos, said to be of the particular incident, are circulating on social media, the police is yet to arrest a single cow-vigilante. An FIR has, however, been filed against 6 persons and 200 unknown people under various sections including those related to theft, destruction of property, culpable homicide and murder.
Some of those attacked have also been taken into judicial custody, police told Hindustan Times. A case has been registered against them under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act, 1995. The law prohibits export of cows for slaughter. Transportation of bovine animals for the purposes of agriculture or dairy farming in allowed under the law with permission from the district administration. The police have denied knowledge of transporters having the required permit.
The incident comes amid a renewed drive against slaughter of bovine animals by the Uttar Pradesh government, a subject of heated debate. Members of right-wing groups had also vandalised several Muslim houses in Raghunathgarh village of Alwar in September last year after police claimed to have found 36 cow carcasses during a raid. A hotel in Jaipur was shut down on March 19 and two employees arrested after it was alleged that they were disposing beef in the garbage.