NEW DELHI: The most dangerous and sinister aspect of the latest cow lynching, that of Umar Mohammad in Alwar, seems to have escaped notice as has the concerted effort by the Rajasthan government to shift attention from the bullet wound that killed him and injured another.

The account by the eyewitnesses now being recounted by the villagers, proves that the cow mob of six or seven persons who accosted Mohammad were armed, and opened fire almost immediately after stopping the three men who were taking milch cows back to their village. Mohammad was killed on the spot, Tahir with him sustained a bullet wound, and Javed the driver of the pick up van transporting the cattle ran from the spot almost immediately. In fact it was he, who informed the villagers of the incident maintaining, however, that he was not sure whether the other two had survived the attack or not.

In an interview to Newclick, Mohammad’s son and his brother recount the events. For the young boy ---one of 8 siblings and a devastated wife---his life has turned from levels of hope to complete despair. As he says, the family is poor with just three or four goats. Mohammad’s wife wanted him to get a milch cow for milk to sustain the family and finally, with Rs 15,000 he had gone to Rajasthan to make this dream come true. It was a joyous occasion, the family was waiting for the father to return with the cow when the lynch mob struck. Now the young boy wonders how the family will live and asks poignantly in the interview, “what option is being left for us now except to kill ourselves on the railway track, the entire family” including Mohammad’s mother.

According to Javed’s accounts to the villagers, they were stopped by about seven men who first threw stones at them and then opened fire. From then the travails of the family and the villagers have not ended. They went the next day to Ramgarh police station as his brother has told the media and stated in the Newsclick interview, enquiring if they had heard of any incident. The cop on duty showed them a photograph of Mohammad who they identified as theirs. From they were sent to Alwar, to the morgue, to Jaipur for justice but till date the state government has not responded, and instead filed counter charges of cattle smuggling to bring pressure on the family, and the entire village itself.

In fact, the entire effort of the police in Rajasthan was to cover up the bullet injury. The body was placed on the railway track by of course unknown persons, and found in a mutilated condition. Yet the bullet wound remained visible despite this effort. The cops at first tried to say that the two incidents were different, then insisted there was no bullet wound, and perhaps all that was secured by the protest by the villagers was that Mohammad had indeed been killed by a bullet, and not by lathis and stones that had claimed the lives of others before him like Mohammad Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan.

The villagers did not back off from what was the fact, but although the use of guns has been verified there has been no comment on this shift from lathis to weapons by even the Opposition. No questions have been raised on what can now set a new pattern, with lynch mobs further empowered by guns. “This government is blind and deaf to us.” the villagers said, grim and serious after the incident that has made them even more vulnerable.

The search of justice of course has not ended. And the family will be in Delhi on Monday under the banner of a citizens group United Against Hate to address the media.