A court in Rajasthan’s Alwar on Wednesday acquitted all six accused in the Pehlu Khan lynching case. The verdict was pronounced by the court of the Additional District Judge in Alwar.
Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old native of Haryana’s Nuh, had left his village to purchase cattle in order to increase milk produce for Ramzan. Surrounded by a mob of cow vigilantes on the Delhi-Alwar highway on April 1, 2017, he tried to save himself by showing his purchase receipts, but was lynched with rods and sticks.
Khan and his companions — including his sons — were attacked by cow vigilantes in Alwar for transporting cattle on April 1, 2017. Khan died two days later, with the incident resulting in nationwide outrage.
Two years on, the men seen yanking Pehlu Khan by the neck, throwing him to the ground and kicking him repeatedly, have been acquitted by a court in Rajasthan on the benefit of doubt.
All six accused were caught on cellphone camera but a trial court in Alwar said the video was not clear enough to establish their presence.
The six accused let off by the court are Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kaluram, Dayanand, Yogesh Kumar and Bheem Rathi.
Moments after the judge’s “not guilty” ruling, slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” erupted from supporters of the accused waiting outside the courtroom.
Sher Mohamed, head of Meo panchayat, also reiterated that they would appeal against the decision in the high court. Pehlu Khan belonged to the Meo Muslim community.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said asked if people were to now believe that no one had killed Pehlu Khan. “What will this deliberately shoddy prosecution tell his family?” asked the Hyderabad MP. “It’s a judgment of a court of law and we must respect it, but the government has a duty to prosecute effectively,” he added. “Now the government must file an appeal and seek conviction and sentencing in a time-bound manner.”