In Behror, stones thrown at Karwan-e-Mohabbat

Peace rally makes its way to spot where Pehlu was lynched

Published - September 16, 2017 01:02 am IST - Jaipur

In name of love: Aman Biradari convenor Harsh Mander (centre) during a press conference in Jaipur on Friday.

In name of love: Aman Biradari convenor Harsh Mander (centre) during a press conference in Jaipur on Friday.

Amid high drama and protests by Right-wing groups on Friday, the members of a peace march passed through Behror in Alwar district of Rajasthan, where 55-year-old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was allegedly lynched by a mob of cow vigilantes in April this year.

Members of Hindu Jagran Manch, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad confronted the activists at Behror when their ‘Karwan-e-Mohabbat [caravan of love]’ was crossing the streets.

The Right-wing activists raised slogans and threw stones at the vehicles of the peace rally while demanding that they leave the town immediately.

Heavy police force was deployed near the spot on the Jaipur-Delhi National Highway where Mr. Khan was attacked and killed.

Under police escort

When the police refused to allow the marchers to go to the spot, convenor of Aman Biradari campaign Harsh Mander staged a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, declaring that he would not leave until the march was allowed to proceed.

The civil servant-turned-activist was later allowed to go to the spot alone, where he paid floral tributes to the victim. The march also met with resistance at Kotputli on its way to Jaipur.

Mr. Mander said that this was the first time that the march had faced hostility since it was launched from Assam on September 4. “It is unfortunate that the caravan is moving in Rajasthan with a police escort,” he said.

The activist told reporters that he was shocked that the Rajasthan Police had let off six accused in the case despite Mr. Khan’s dying declaration clearly stating their names.

“This is something unprecedented. I have never heard of such an instance before, as the Supreme Court has held that a dying declaration does not need any corroborative evidence,” said Mr. Mander.

“If there was any doubt over the involvement of the accused, the police should have filed the charge sheet and left it to the court to take a view,” he added.

Open letter to CM

Civil rights groups issued an open letter to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje alleging that the investigation into Mr. Khan’s murder was transferred from the district police to the Crime Investigation Department-Crime Branch in order to save the accused mentioned in the FIR.

The letter condemned removal of six names from the case and stated that Ms. Raje had “neither the desire not the political willpower” to stop mob lynchings in the State.

“The police have connived with the criminals. This is yet another instance of the BJP government giving patronage to anti-social elements for political gains,” said State Congress president Sachin Pilot.

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