Sunday, October 22, 2017
NEW DELHI: Terrified out of his wits, with his life lying in ruin around him, 27 year old Azmat Khan who was seriously injured by the cow vigilantes who killed his uncle Pehlu Khan, has no idea what to do. His voice over the phone registered the despair and the helplessness when asked about the Rajasthan police decision to give a clean chit to the six men who had been named by the survivors in the FIR filed with the police later.
As Azmat Khan said, these were the only six names they had filed. He said that the attackers were all referring to each other by name and as they were being assaulted they had made a note of these. Om Yadav (45), Hukum Chand Yadav (44), Sudhir Yadav (45), Jagmal Yadav (73), Naveen Sharma (48) and Rahul Saini (24) were named in the FIR, with the other names being added later by the police on the basis of the investigations it claimed to have made.
Khan said that towards the end of the attack they were all piled together and “we could hear them tell each other to take out the diesel from one of their vehicles and set us on fire.” He said that they had started the process of taking out the diesel but “the police arrived as they were finding it a little difficult with the gas tank on that vehicle being below, and not on top.” He said the men had referred to each other by name then as well and these had been included in the FIR.
The men have been given a clean chit by the cops on the basis of an alibi provided by a cow shelter staff and the police claimed, their mobile phone records. They are all out, adding to the fears of the family that is still being summoned to Alwar, Jaipur and Bairaut in connection with the cases of illegal cow transportation, filed against them.
Pehlu Khan was transporting milch cows from Jaipur to his home in Nuh, Haryana when he and the others with him were stopped by cow mobs who lynched him. Khan was transporting cows from a market in Jaipur to his home in Nuh, Haryana, when he was lynched by alleged cow vigilantes near Alwar on April1 this year.
Azmat Khan sustained major injuries, including a spinal fracture. He said that he has still not recovered, has pain, and his health is nowhere close to what it was before. He said that they were primarily dairy farmers, but now their work is finished. “We have no money to meet our basic needs now,” he said. The young man is supporting an old mother, a paralysed brother, and other dependents. He said there was no indication that “we can recover, they took away my cow that no one has returned to me, they robbed me of the Rs 33000 I had on me, in fact they took that first. And now we have no money at all.”
Has the Rajasthan government paid any compensation. “No nothing, in fact we are spending and borrowing to answer their summons, as it costs money to go to Alwar, or Jaipur with the process taking a day at least.”
Azmat Khan said that more than the money was the fear that was hounding all of them. “Everytime we are called by the police it becomes a major issue, how to organise it. Everyone is aware that we are at risk, and worry that someone might attack us on the way there. And now (with the release of the six) we don’t know what will happen. Someone told us that in lock up one of the accused was saying that if he had been out he would have taken care of us. I do not know what to do, have no idea what will happen to us.”
Azmat Khan said that he does not have the health any longer. He was coughing even as he spoke, but was clear that the family would continue the fight for justice. The trauma of the attack that killed Pehlu Khan, sending shock waves across India, remains with him and all who were attacked by the cow mobs that day.