PEHLU KHAN LYNCHING CASE : Accused Bragged About Lynching , Yet Acquitted . Is This Justice ?

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This case took place after the incident of 1st April 2017, when a dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old native of Haryana’s Nuh, had left his village to purchase cattle in order to increase milk production for Ramzan. He was surrounded by a mob of cow vigilantes was dragged out of the truck in which he was transporting cattle bought from a fair and assaulted by a mob of cow vigilantes on the Jaipur-Delhi highway. He tried to save himself by showing his purchase receipts but was lynched with rods and sticks. Afterwards, he died in the hospital due to injury.

Two FIRs were filed in the case, the first against the attackers and the other charging Pehlu Khan and his sons with transporting cattle from Rajasthan to another state reportedly without requisite permissions. Pehlu Khan had bought the cattle from a fair in Jaipur and was returning to his village in Haryana.

The whole incident was captured by the public, this became a matter of prime time news after videos of the attack went viral on social media, but during the trial the man who recorded the video of the savage attack on his mobile phone did not testify in court and a second man who made a video turned hostile.

The trial was concluded on August 7 after the completion of arguments of prosecution and defense. Forty-four witnesses, including Khan’s two sons Irshad and Aarif, had deposed in the case, registered under Sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code. The charge sheet was submitted in a court in Behror, but the trial was later shifted to Alwar and the other three accused, who were minors, are facing proceedings as children in conflict with the law in Alwar’s Juvenile Justice Board.

On 14th August 2019, a trial court in Rajasthan’s Alwar said the video was not clear enough to establish all six accused presence and acquitted all six accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case. The verdict was pronounced by the court of the Additional District Judge in Alwar, Sarita Swami who acquitted Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kalu Ram, Dayanand and Bheem Singh Rathi of charges under Sections 147, 341, 323, 302, 308, 427, 379 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Judge while acquitting the six, the court gave them the benefit of the doubt, Additional Public Prosecutor Yogendra Khatana said.

All-India Mewati Samaj president Ramzan Choudhary alleged that the police had acted under government pressure to weaken the case despite there being a dying declaration, eyewitnesses and videos where the accused could be seen hitting the victim. Mr. Choudhary said witnesses had been “forced to turn hostile, bought over and threatened and therefore justice always seemed impossible”.

So, after this verdict, it was a huge disappointment among the public at large as it arises a question of concern that “Is this a justice done to the Pehlu’s family” as everyone saw the viral video in the country which clearly shows the cold-blooded murder of Pehlu Khan. Observing the judgment it can be concluded that this can increase the incidence of cases of lynching, the common man may bound to lose faith in the judiciary, the police and the government in the wake of the verdict.

 

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