JAIPUR: Hundreds of Meo Muslims supported by activists sat in protest through the night on the Delhi-Alwar highway protesting against yet another lynching of one of their dairy farmers by a cow mob of whom only two persons are now reported to have been arrested. The lynch mobs accorded impunity by the Rajasthan government are now running an extortion racket, killing those who are unable to pay.

Whispers from within the Meo community confirm this, with Akbar Khan himself being such a victim, beaten and brutally killed when he was unable to pay the money demanded by the mob that waylaid him Friday evening in the forests.

The lynchings continue in Rajasthan with the accused, even when arrested in the case of the Pehlu Khan lynching, released shortly after for want of evidence.

It was the turn of Union Home Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal now to virtually justify the lynching of 28 year old Akbar Khan by a cow mob by linking it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity."As Modiji becomes more popular, such incidents will take place. When Bihar elections happened, we had award wapsi... When UP elections came, mob lynching happened. Now 2019 elections are about to take place and again, something will happen. Incidents of intolerance will take place. Because schemes brought by Modi-ji are making a difference at the ground level, this is a reaction," he said in what appeared to be a bizarre attempt at establishing a ‘conspiracy.’

And then repeated the equally absurd statement by the Union Home Minister Rajnath singh earlier, saying that “we condemn” mob lynching but “what happened to the Sikhs in 1984, was the biggest incident of mob lynching in the country.” The usual tactics being of the BJP apologists to what is clearly an effort to justify the lynchings, more so as those accused of this crime are either not arrested, or released on bail, or acquitted altogether in record time. Even as demonstrations are held by BJP leaders in their support, and as in the case of Minister Jayant Sinha, they are garlanded and felicitated when released on bail.

On Friday night Akbar Khan, accompanied by another villager Aslam Khan, was brutally beaten to death by a mob for doing little more than purchasing two cows and two calves from a cattle market. He was taking them home to Haryana through the forests when he was set upon by the mob that appeared to be lying in wait. As reported by The Citizen on Saturday (http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/2/14447/Akbar-Khan-Lynched-in-Alwar-By-a-Cow-Mob-Despite-SC-Concerns) the Vasundhara Raje government has opened Gauraksha police stations across the state with perhaps the largest number of such thanas in Alwar district.

Khan is survived by his inconsolable wife and children. His relatively peaceful house has been turned upside down with the family terrified, as is the village and others around it. He was working as a daily wage labourer to make ends meet, and this purchase was with hard earned money in the hope of increasing his income from selling milk. The silence of Prime MInister Narendra Modi, and the state government’s refusal to act has led to control of entire territories by cow mob gangs who are now using their power for extortion. Whispers from the terrified community suggest a well knit extortion racket with the Meos in particular feeling the heat.

Kavita Srivastava issued a statement on behalf of Rajsthan’s Peoples Union for Civil Liberties that lists the numbers of such lynchings in recent times while recording the impunity under which these gangs operate. The statement reads:

After having studied collectively with others activists, the lynchings in Mewat area of Rajasthan, it has become clear to the PUCL that Akbar Khan who had bought two cows from village Ladpur, Ramgarh tehsil, Alwar district and was taking back the cows in the night to his own village Kol near Firozpur Jhirka, Mewat, Haryana, was killed due to extortion. He was killed in Jungle Lalawandi, Ramgarh. It is well known that extortionists under the garb of Gaurakshaks are roaming the streets looking for a prey. If those carrying cows are able to pay the sum demanded, then they are allowed to go or else fired at and killed. This time too this has been the case, as reported by activists from the ground level.

The murder of Akbar is the complete failure of the Government in protecting Muslims in particular Dairy farmers from the killer Gaurakshaks, who are basically extortionists. It may be recalled that in the past, 4 lynchings have happened since 2015, with three in 2017. Please recall the following murders:

· 30 may 2015, Abdul Gaffar Querishi, Birloka, Didwana tehsil, Nagaur district

· 1st April, 2017 Pehlu Khan, Behror thana, Alwar district

· 16th June, 2017 Zafar Khan, Pratapgarh town, Pratapgarh district

· 10th sept, 2017 Bhagtaram Meena, neem ka thaana sikar district.

· 12th of November, 2017, Umar Mohammed, a resident of Ghatmatika Pahadi, near Pahadi Kaman killed near Ramgarah Tehsil, Alwar

Along with three police encounters in the city of Alwar of Mev Muslims, in the name of the picking up cows.

Although in this case the police brought the deceased to Alwar and lodged an FIR 0321/18 U/S 143, 341, 323, 302, 34 IPC at the Ramgarh police station.

We would like to ask the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, who tweeted immediately this morning, condemning this incident, whether she has any plans to call a halt to this bloody madness as now the Gau rakshaks have tasted blood and have the support of the police and administration

All the killers named by Pehlu Khan were thrown out of the purview of investigation and cases of cow smuggling are still being faced by Pehlu khan’s companions, Azmat and Rafiq. Todate Zafar khans killers are roaming free and the eye witnesses in the Umar case were thrown into jail. In Bhagtaram’s case nothing happened, till the High Court intervened earlier this month in July. There seems to be complete impunity to the killers, with the Home minister Gulab singh Kataria going on record that Gau Rakshaks to good work, after Pehlu khan was killed.

We would also like to know whether the GOR has any plans to implement the Supreme court guide lines. The SC clearly made the centre and State responsible for lynchings, and said mobocracy will not be allowed. As part of the guidelines it has all state to make nodal officers, immediate arrests and chargesheets and fast track courts and maximum punishment.

It these are not going to stop now, these murders are going to be on the increase? It will be a major violation by your Government of Article 21, the right to life of the Muslims

We demand :

· the immediate transfer of investigation to an independent agency, like an SIT or under the IG.

· Arrest the killers of Akbar Khan.

· Immediately and restore the cows to the family of Akbar Khan.

· Compensation including cash of 25 lakhs and land to the family. And a government job to his kin.

· Aslam be given protection.

· No false case of cow smuggling be filed against Akbar and Aslam.

· The Ramgarh SHO be dismissed from duty. As the onus is on the State to protect the people from lynching.

· The Home Minister give a plan for the protection of dairy farmers particularly the Meos in Mewat region.

We also demand from the CM that this be the last lynching in Rajasthan. The impunity and protection to these killers be withdrawn now.

Kavita Srivastava, (President)
Anant Bhatnagar ( General Secretary)