The son of Pehlu Khan, a Muslim man killed by cow vigilantes this April in Alwar, has been acquitted of cattle-smuggling charges by two courts, an HT investigation revealed, contrary to the Rajasthan home minister’s remarks implicating the family.
Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said in the state assembly on Monday that Khan belonged to a family of cow smugglers, and he cited two closed cases against his son to assert his point.
But Khan’s eldest son Irshad has been acquitted in both cases, filed by gau rakshaks or self-styled protectors of cows, which are sacred to Hindus.
The first case was registered in Nuh, the second in Rohtak, Haryana, in 2011.
Police officers in Nuh and Rohtak said the cases against Irshad were more of cruelty to animals and less of transporting cows for slaughter. In Nuh, he was booked for cruelty. An additional section of transporting cows for slaughter was added later to the case in Rohtak.
Irshad said he was acquitted in both cases in 2015.
Alwar lynching: Police blame victims for slow-paced investigation
His 55-year-old father had no cases against him. Khan was waylaid by a mob on April 1 when he was transporting cows for his small dairy farm, beaten up mercilessly, and he died of his wounds two days later.
The death triggered national outrage and a demand to rein in right-wing vigilante groups, whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi had blamed last August for fomenting social tension and called for action against them.