The family of a Muslim man, whose dismembered body was found on the railway tracks near Govindgarh in Alwar district of Rajasthan on Friday, has claimed that he was thrashed and shot dead by a crowd of cow vigilantes when he was transporting four cows to his native village Ghatmika in Bharatpur.
The police on Sunday registered a case of murder on the basis of the family’s complaint.
Waylaid at Fahari
The deceased, identified as Ummar Khan, 35, a dairy farmer in Ghatmika, and two of his acquaintances, Tahir Khan and Javed Khan, were taking the cows in a pick-up truck to the village after purchasing them in Alwar. They were allegedly waylaid at Fahari, where they were assaulted and shot at, leading to Ummar Khan’s death.
The vigilantes allegedly threw Ummar Khan’s body on the railway track to cover up the murder and show it as an accident. Police retrieved the body, dismembered by a moving train, to Alwar on Saturday and kept it at the mortuary in the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital.
Mr. Tahir Khan, 42, who escaped from the spot, has reportedly been admitted to a private hospital at Ferozepur Jhirka in neighbouring Haryana, while Mr. Javed Khan, 28, is missing.
Alwar (South) Circle Officer Anil Beniwal told The Hindu that a FIR under Section 302 (murder) against unknown persons was registered at Govindgarh police station on Sunday. Following a protest by Umar Khan's relatives and Meo Muslims, the body has been sent for a post mortem to Jaipur.
Umar Khan and his companions belong to the Meo Muslim community, which has a significant presence in the Mewat region spread over Rajasthan, Haryana and some parts of Uttar Pradesh. It was in Alwar that 55-year-old dairy owner Pehlu Khan from Haryana was lynched by a mob of cow vigilantes in April this year. The incident sparked a nation-wide outrage.
District Congress minority cell president Jamshed Khan, who led the protest outside the hospital in Alwar, alleged that the policemen present at the scene of crime, did not stop the attackers. “There is a suspicion that the policemen might have joined cow vigilantes in the assault,” said Mr. Khan, who is also Sarpanch of Tulera village.
On Friday, the police at Govindgarh registered a case under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995, when they found some cows, including one dead, in the abandoned pick-up truck near the village. The cows which were alive had their feet and mouths tied.
While the Meo Panchayat in Alwar demanded a fair and impartial probe and arrest of the culprits, Mr. Beniwal said an investigation was underway to confirm the assault and firing on Umar Khan and his aides. “Nobody saw cow vigilantes assaulting him. We will wait for the autopsy report to confirm if the body had gunshot wounds,” he said.