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Floral tributes paid to Alwar lynching victim, Pehlu Khan, amid protests

Congress leader Sachin Pilot

Congress leader Sachin Pilot   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Amid high drama and protests by right-wing groups, the members of a peace march on Friday passed through Behror in Alwar district of Rajasthan, where dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was lynched allegedly by a mob of cow vigilantes in April this year. Aman Biradari convener Harsh Mander, who led the march, paid floral tributes at the spot where Pehlu Khan, 55, was attacked.

As the closure of investigation against six persons named in the lynching case created an outrage, the Opposition Congress raised a question mark over the “clean chit” given to the accused. “Police have connived with the criminals to ensure their release. This is yet another instance of the BJP government giving patronage to anti-social elements for political gains,” Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot said.

Mr. Pilot said Pehlu Khan's family members had agitated for justice and even joined demonstrations at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, but they were disappointed by the action of police taken under the ruling party's pressure. All evidence and facts of the incident suggested that Pehlu Khan was waylaid and killed by those whom he had named in his dying declaration, he said. Civil rights groups in an open letter to CM Vasundhara Raje condemned the closure of probe.

Members of Hindu Jagran Manch, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad confronted Mr. Mander and his fellow activists at Behror when their “Karwan-e-Mohabbat” (caravan of love) was crossing the streets. The activists of right-wing groups raised slogans and hurled stones at the vehicles of marchers while demanding that they leave the town immediately.

A heavy police force was deployed near the spot on the Jaipur-Delhi national highway, at a short distance from the Behror police station, where Pehlu Khan was attacked. When the police refused to allow the marchers to go to the place, Mr. 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.

Later, Mr. Mander was allowed to go alone to the spot. The civil servant-turned-activist offered floral tributes and also met the officers at the police station to express his disappointment over removal of accused from the FIR and registration of criminal cases against Pehlu Khan and his sons.

The march also met with resistance at Kotputli on way to Jaipur. Mr. Mander told reporters after arriving here that he was shocked by the way the CID-CB of Rajasthan police had let off six accused in the case despite Pehlu 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 the veracity of involvement of the accused, the police should have left it to the court to take a view and filed the charge-sheet, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 8:16:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/floral-tributes-paid-to-alwar-lynching-victim-pehlu-khan-amid-protests/article19693975.ece

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