Jaipur, June 29, 2019
Withdraw false FIRs and fabricated charge-sheets against late Pehlu Khan and all other dairy farmers booked for cow smuggling
The PUCL condemns the Government of Rajasthan for filing chargesheets in the fabricated case against Pehlu Khan and others (FIR number 252/2017 & 253/2017). The PUCL has maintained from day one that this was a motivated case, the Gau Rakshaks and the police authorities have had a pattern in these murders, where the victim and survivors of that violence are criminalised and defamed by the killers as cow smugglers.
The two vehicles that were stopped on the evening of 1 April, 2017 had three dairy farmers, Pehlu Khan, Rafiq and Azmat and Pehlu’s sons Irshad, Arif. Pehlu khan had bought two cows for Rs. 45,000 and Azmat had purchased two cattle for Rs. 75,000. They were also carrying the ‘Ravanna’ (acknowledgment receipt) of the Jaipur Nagar Nigam. The PUCL has always maintained that they were genuine dairy farmers, and that their whole region is dependent on the milk trade. They bought the milch cows with the intent of selling milk. The PUCL has also insisted that the police take cognizance of their past milk sales records. It is clear that the deadly attack on them was because they were Muslims.
It may be recalled that on the 1st of April, Pehlu Khan was seriously injured, with 12 broken ribs, punctured lungs and serious spinal cord injuries, which resulted in his death on the 3rd of April. Twenty five year old Azmat Khan was also seriously injured, but he was hardly given any treatment. Azmat had to go to AIIMS in New Delhi for his treatment, where the doctors advised him complete bed rest.
Rafiq, the 3rd dairy farmer, had two of his ribs and nose broken in the assault. Even he didn’t receive treatment. Rafiq said that he had gone to buy a buffalo from the fair, but since he did not have enough money, he hitched a lift back to the village with Pehlu Khan, when they were attacked. He said that the goons robbed him of Rs 25,000, while they became helpless witnesses to the brutal attack on Pehlu Khan. He said that all laws had been followed in purchasing and transferring the cows, and the vehicles transporting these could be measured as proof.
The PUCL had in 2017 insisted that the rule of law should prevail, no matter which government was in power. The police and the state agencies are bound by the law and cannot be prejudicial in investigating the case. It is the biases of the police and the powers that be that the charge sheet was filed in FIR numbers 252 and 253 /2019, Behror Thana, on the 30th of December, 2018 in the Behror magisterial court and taken cognizance of on 29th May, 2019.
It shows, that the present Government, did not even bother to enquire into these false cases or present a strong prosecution in the FIR number 255/2019, or in any of the lynchings that took place since 2015. There were 7 deaths due to lynchings in Rajasthan between 2015 and 2018, with 5 taking place only in 2017.
What has happened is shameful as dairy farmers have to now face a trial for false cases, when they in reality are struggling to making ends meet. The PUCL demands that:
· The Government of Rajasthan must get the prosecution to move an application and withdraw the chargesheet u/s 5, 8, 9 of the Rajasthan Bovine law for alleged smuggling and committing cruelty against the cows.
· The closure of not just the above two FIRs but also FIR numbers 254/2017 and 256 / 2017 and 257/ 2017, Behror Thana, which were against 11 other dairy farmers, who were also caught by the ‘cow protectors’ at Behror that day, while transporting cows from the same Hatwara at Ramgarh in Jaipur district. Not only were their cows too taken but also sent to jail. These 11 people were from close to Nuh too.
· The cows be handed back to the farmers. The cattle were sent to a private gaushala where they still remain, thus depriving the farmers of legitimate income.
· The Government gives monetary compensation to the above people as per Supreme Court guidelines, which the government of Rajasthan notified in July 2018.
Kavita Srivastava (President)
Anant Bhatnagar (General Secretary)