If there are no riots, the Hindutva forces in India need some excuse to attack people of minority religions. So when they saw a truck passing by with some cows in it accompanied by people looking like Muslims they did not want to lose the opportunity. They were sure they won’t be punished as their men are ruling both the centre and state governments.
On April 1, Pehlu Khan and his two sons, Irshad and Aarif, were returning to their village, Jaisinghpur, in Haryana’s Mewat district after attending a cattle fair in Hathwara on the outskirts of Jaipur in Rajasthan. They were travelling with Azmat Khan, a young man from the same village. The men had purchased five cows and five calves. They were bringing them back in two pickup trucks.
“We had purchased the cows so that we could sell more milk,” said Azmat Khan, who is a dairy farmer. Pehlu Khan and his sons were also dairy farmers, supplying milk to a bigger farmer. Said Irshad Khan: “We were looking out for a buffalo to produce enough milk for the family and sell the excess if possible. But we could not afford one. So we settled for two cows.”
The decision to buy a cow proved costly.
When they reached a highway intersection in Alwar in Rajasthan, the group were stopped by a group of cow vigilantes, pulled out of the trucks and thrashed – even though they had documents to prove that they had bought the cattle legally.
Only one person managed to escape: the driver of one of the trucks who identified himself as Arjun, and told the attackers that he was Hindu. “Some members of the mob asked him his name and set him free,” said Irshad Khan.
The driver of the other truck, Rafique, a neighbour of the Khan family, was not allowed to escape.
The mob identified the group as Muslims by their appearance, said Azmat Khan. Three of them, including Pehlu Khan, had beards and two were wearing white kurta pajamas. “At one point they asked me to identify everyone by name but by the time I could speak up, they started thrashing us,” he added.
Pehlu Khan, Irshad Khan and his brother Aarif, Azmat, and the driver of the other truck, Rafique, were all beaten mercilessly. All five were later admitted to a private hospital in Alwar where Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries on Monday. The others left the hospital alleging they were not receiving proper treatment.
Predictably, the minister in charge of law and order in the state who also belongs to the same Sangh as the murderers, said both the victim and the attackers are to blame.
India is fast turning into a lawless state where Hindutva goons kill and loot at will.