Pehlu Khan’s kin want case transferred out of Rajasthan

Activists allege ‘massive cover-up’ after names of 6 accused in lynching case cleared

September 16, 2017 01:01 am | Updated 01:01 am IST - New Delhi

NEW DELHI 15/09/2017: Pehlu Khan family (Son Irshad, wife Zaibuna and younger son) addressing the Press conference , in New Delhi on Friday. Photo Sandeep Saxena

NEW DELHI 15/09/2017: Pehlu Khan family (Son Irshad, wife Zaibuna and younger son) addressing the Press conference , in New Delhi on Friday. Photo Sandeep Saxena

A day after the Rajasthan Police cleared six people whom mob-lynching victim Pehlu Khan had named as accused in his dying declaration, the family of the deceased has demanded that the case be transferred outside the State.

Mr. Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer, was allegedly lynched by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan in April this year.

During a press conference in Delhi on Friday, Irshad, the eldest son of the deceased, said: “Nobody came to the rescue of my father. A mob attacked him in front of us. Every time I think of that day, I am filled with pain. We request that the case be taken out of the State. Our only hope now is the Supreme Court”.

‘Will apprise apex court’

Activists Tehseen Poonawalla and Shehzad Poonawalla, who have filed a petition in the Supreme Court against cow vigilante groups, said they would apprise the apex court of the “massive cover-up” in the case and how justice was being denied to the victim’s family.

Addressing the media along with Mr. Khan’s family, Mr. Tehseen Poonawalla said: “We will seek transfer of the case outside Rajasthan and demand a court-monitored probe as no fair investigation can be expected from the Rajasthan Police, considering the political and ideological support given to the perpetrators by the high and mighty in the State”.

Mr. Khan’s family also said that Irshad has been getting death threats from one of the accused.

Mr. Shehzad Poonawalla said the court was not taking into consideration major evidence such as the victim’s dying declaration, eyewitness (Irshad’s) account as well as video evidence.

“Instead, the court gave a clean chit to the six accused on support of weak evidence and the other six to seven people were never arrested,” he said, adding that “the police are acting under pressure. This smacks of a massive cover-up”.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who was also at the event, accused the BJP government of trying to protect the accused and denying justice to the family of the victim. “This has become a pattern across India, where the victims are left hapless and the accused, mostly with links to the Sangh Parivar and affiliated groups, are protected,” he said.

‘Will take issue to House’

The Rajya Sabha MP said the issue would be brought up by the Congress in the next session of Parliament, apart from Rajasthan’s Vidhan Sabha.

Mr. Tehseen Poonawalla and Mr. Shehzad Poonawalla said apart from financial assistance to the family, they want the government to implement the anti-lynching Manav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA) Bill, which they said would ensure justice for victims of mob lynching like Mr. Khan and Mohammed Akhlaq.

In September 2015, a mob in U.P. killed 52-year-old Akhlaq after suspecting him of stealing and slaughtering a stolen cow calf. Recently, the Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre and six State governments, including Rajasthan, in a public interest litigation against cow vigilantism. Apart from asking for strict action against cow vigilantism, the apex court had also ordered the appointment of senior officers as nodal officers in every district to crackdown on such cases.

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