JAIPUR : For more than two years, murdered Rajasthan dairy farmer Pehlu Khan’s family bore the stigma of cattle smuggling. They would have heaved a sigh of relief on Wednesday when the Rajasthan High Court ruled that Pehlu and his sons were not smuggling cows for slaughter when a mob of vigilantes attacked them in 2017. The court called the FIR against them on charges of cattle smuggling “an abuse of the process of law”.
A single Bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari ordered the scrapping of the FIR and charge sheet against Pehlu, observing that there is no evidence to show the cows were being transported by him for the purpose of slaughtering. “The documents clearly show Pehlu Khan had purchased the cattle for dairy purposes,” the court observed.
Pehlu and his sons Irshad and Arif were transporting cattle from a weekly market in Jaipur to their village in Haryana’s Nuh on March 31, 2017, when a group of cow vigilantes stopped them and brutally thrashed the 55-year-old dairy farmer and his sons. Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries two days later at a hospital.
The Rajasthan High Court ruled that the cows Pehlu had purchased from a government-run cattle fair in Jaipur “were milch cows and the calves were one and two years old; as such, it cannot be presumed they were being taken for slaughter.” Strangely, the Rajasthan Police had charged Pehlu and his sons under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act, which relates to the transport of cattle for slaughter. The Police had charge-sheeted Pehlu and his sons when the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government was in power in Rajasthan.
We stand vindicated: Pehlu Khan’s son
Expressing happiness over the verdict, Pehlu Khan’s son Irshad said they have been vindicated and expressed hope that they will get justice from the high court in the lynching case. He said the FIR was not based on facts. “During the BJP rule, the police did not carry out a fair investigation. We are dairy farmers and were taking the cows for that purpose."