24-year-old man beaten up in Rajasthan over suspicions of cow smuggling

Our Correspondent
Jaipur, September 23

A 24-year-old man was beaten up by a mob of cow vigilantes after he was suspected of smuggling cows in Rajasthan’s Alwar district—a place that has witnessed two prominent cases of mob lynching in the past over similar suspicions.

The man, Munafed Khan, was travelling from Kotputali to Tizara with seven cows, Bhiwadi Superintendent of Police Amandeep Kapoor. Police claimed there were allegations that he was smuggling the animals in two vehicles, and was intercepted by some villagers at Phusa-Ki-Dhani after the vehicles tried to get past some barricades that Shahjahanpur Police had set up. One vehicle fled, police said. The incident occurred between 2 am and 4 am, SHO Ajeet Singh said.

At least two other people are believed to have been accompanying Khan.

Police said there were two FIRs in the connection with the incident—one for cow smuggling against Khan and second for assault by a mob. Five people have been detained for the latter. SHO Singh also said there were reports that some “cow smugglers” had beaten and left a young boy injured at Phusa-Ki-Dhani, hinting that the attack could have been a possible “retaliation” by some angry villagers.

Monday's attack is the second case of such mob violence since the Congress government under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot took over after assembly elections in December. The first such attack was on December 22, 2018—less than a week after Gehlot’s government was sworn in—in Alwar’s Kishangarh Baas.

Seven such cases of mob attack were recorded under the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government under Vasundhara Raje, People’s Union of Civil Liberties Founder-Convener Kavita Srivastava says.

Alwar in particular has become notorious for mob attacks—in at least two cases, victims of such attacks eventually died. Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer who was reportedly transporting cattle from a fair in Rajasthan to his native Mewat in Haryana, was attacked by a mob of cow vigilantes in April of 2017 in a shocking case that drew condemnation from across the country.

The second case of death occurred a year later, in July of 2018, when Rakbar Khan, also a Muslim dairy farmer from Mewat’s Nuh, was killed under circumstances that seemed eerily similar. Both cases have seen questions being raised over the integrity of police in investigations. Six people who were charged and tried in the Pehlu Khan murder case were acquitted for lack of evidence on August 14, 2019.  The trial court however raised questions over police investigations in the case.

Rajasthan Police has recommended that the state government appeal the lower court’s order in the high court.

Meanwhile, in another case of mob attack in another part if the country, a Jhakhand man was mob lynched and two other people were wounded in an attack that occurred over suspicions of cow slaughter.