Alwar casts a shadow on Pushkar cattle fair

With the police filing an FIR against Pehlu Khan, killed by a vigilante group, and the state’s home minister lauding the mob, Rajasthan sets a bad example

Photo by Deepak Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Deepak Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH Web Desk

The cattle fairs at Pushkar and Parbatsar are expected to be hit hard by the mob lynching at Alwar (Rajasthan) of the cattle traders from Haryana. Already on the decline, the cattle fairs brought together buyers and sellers and the climate of fear in the state poses a serious threat to the future of the fairs.

Every time farmers return from a fair, cow vigilante groups seem to be catching up for extortion and are often ending up assaulting and even killing people transporting cattle. Rajasthan is known for rearing well known breeds of Nagauri bullocks and Rathi cows in Barmer, where farmers belonging to all communities, Hindus, Muslims and Banjaras, rear them.

In a memorandum to the chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, signatories including People’s Union for Civil Liberties, activists Aruna Roy and Kavita Srivastava have expressed their concern at the protection being extended to the vigilante groups by the state’s home minister, the Mayor of Jaipur and the Police.

Aftermath of Alwar

Meanwhile, BJP MP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is not the only BJP leader to claim that no assault took place on April 1 at Alwar by vigilante groups seeking to protect the cow. The infamous BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja, who shot to fame by claiming to know how many condoms were used in the JNU campus, has also lent his voice and claimed that Pehlu Khan had died of a ‘heart attack’ and not because of the assault that hospitalised him.

Pehlu Khan, who succumbed to his injuries and Azmat Khan who continued to be critical at Nuh Civil Hospital in Haryana lay for four days in Kailash Hospital, located on the Highway in Behror, a hospital run by the Kailash Charitable Trust of Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, says the PUCL memorandum. The memorandum alleged that no attempt was made in those four days to shift them to a multi-specialty hospital in either Jaipur or Gurugram. What’s worse, family members of the three injured victims alleged that they were not treated with dignity but more like criminals at the Kailash Hospital. But after Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries four days later on April 4 and following reports in the media, agencies swung into action. The SP too reached the site of the crime for investigation only the day after on April 5, said PUCL.

They had purchased two milch cows and three calves from Ramgarh, Hatwara and were travelling back home to Nuh in Mewat (Haryana) from Jaipur on April 1. They say they had a receipt for having paid ₹45,000 and also a receipt from the Jaipur Municipal Corporation bearing the serial number 88942 dated April 1 along with a ‘Ravana’ receipt of ₹700 from JMC.

According to Irshad, son of Pehlu Khan, he had ₹75,000 in cash which was taken away by the mob, besides ₹35,000 from the others travelling with them.

It was near Behror when they were allegedly stopped by a large crowd of vigilantes, pulled out of the vehicles and assaulted with stones, sticks and iron rods. Their vehicles were also smashed. The mob relented and dispersed only after Pehlu Khan lost consciousness and appeared to have either died or was close to death.

The assault allegedly took place in the presence of the police, Home Guards and highway patrol and the FIR named Hukam Chand, Jagmal, Omprakash, Sudhir, Rahul Saini, Navin Saini and others who are also active members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal, said PUCL.

The police, however, lodged another FIR against the dairy farmers from Haryana for allegedly not having any permit issued by the Collectorate in Jaipur to take the cows back to Nuh. One Damodar Singh who lodged the FIR claimed that the dairy farmers were actually cow traffickers and were carrying cows to Nuh for slaughter.

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