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Pehlu Khan lynching case: Juvenile Justice Board convicts two minors

Irshad Khan holds a picture of his late father Pehlu Khan in Jaisinghpur on June 2, 2017.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

In the first conviction for the lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in 2017, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) in Alwar has held two minors guilty of participating in his murder as members of a mob of cow vigilantes. Six persons accused of having led the attack were acquitted by a Sessions Court in August last year.

The JJB, headed by Principal Magistrate Sarita Dhakad, on Saturday deferred the hearing on the sentence against the convicted teenagers to March 12. Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the minors can be held in custody for a maximum period of three years for the offence which had created a nationwide outrage.

Editorial | Justice for the mob

Khan, 55, a dairy farmer from Haryana’s Nuh district, his two sons and a few others were waylaid by self-styled cow vigilantes at Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi National Highway on April 1, 2017. They were thrashed on suspicion that they were smuggling cows for slaughter. Khan succumbed to his injuries two days later in a hospital.

The Alwar Sessions Court had acquitted six accused in the case on August 14, 2019, giving them the benefit of the doubt on the basis of the police probe. Those let off by the court were Vipin Yadav, Kalu Ram, Dayanand, Ravindra Kumar, Yogesh Kumar and Bheem Rathi.

The State government filed an appeal in the Rajasthan High Court against the Sessions Court’s verdict after a special investigation team pointed out loopholes in the probe conducted earlier by four investigating officers. Another juvenile, who is older than 16 years, is facing trial as an accused in a court in Alwar, where his case was transferred because the offence is covered in the category of heinous crimes.

While the JJB will announce the grounds for conviction of the two minors in its order of sentence, Asad Hayat, lawyer of Khan’s sons, told The Hindu that the Board had not recorded the evidence of those injured in the incident as witnesses. “As the minors have been convicted on hitherto unknown grounds, they may get relief in their appeal in the higher court,” he said.

Mr. Hayat said Khan’s sons Arif and Irshad would move an application before the JJB for recording additional evidence in the case. “We have learnt that the certified copies of evidence recorded in the court, where another juvenile is facing trial as an accused, were submitted to the JJB. Such evidence is not admissible in the Board.”

The High Court had earlier quashed the case of illegal transport of cattle for slaughter against Khan, his sons and the owner of the truck in which they were travelling. The court had ruled that Khan had purchased the animals for dairy and not slaughter.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 4:44:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pehlu-khan-lynching-case-juvenile-justice-board-convicts-two-minors/article31007297.ece

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