Alwar attack: Two companions of killed cattle trader held on cow smuggling charges | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Alwar attack: Two companions of killed cattle trader held on cow smuggling charges

Jaipur, Hindustan Times | By
Nov 20, 2017 06:38 PM IST

Tahir Khan and Javed Khan alias Jabba were transporting cows along with Mohammed through Alwar on November 10 when alleged cow vigilantes opened fire at them.

Police in Rajasthan’s Alwar have arrested two men, who were travelling with murdered cattle trader Umar Mohammed, on charges of smuggling cows, officials said on Monday, as their families and activists accused the force of siding with the attackers.

People stage a demonstration against the alleged murder of Umar Mohammed by suspected cow vigilantes in Rajasthan’s Alwar.(File)
People stage a demonstration against the alleged murder of Umar Mohammed by suspected cow vigilantes in Rajasthan’s Alwar.(File)

Tahir Khan and Javed Khan alias Jabba were transporting cows along with Mohammed through Alwar on November 10 when alleged cow vigilantes opened fire at them.

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Mohammed died on the spot and his mutilated body was found dumped on railway tracks in Ramgarh area. Khan was injured in the attack after being hit by bullets on his shoulder and Javed managed to escape. All the three men are from Ghat Mika village in the western’s state Bharatpur district.

“During interrogation, Khan and Javed have said that they bought the cows from members of the Rewari community near Dausa. Such purchase is illegal as mostly stray cows are herded and sold by the community members without any valid documents,” Anil Beniwal, assistant superintendent of police, Alwar (south), told the Hindustan Times on Monday.

They surrendered on Sunday and have been booked under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter & Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995 and Rules, 1995, said the police.

Earlier, the police arrested Bhagwan Singh Gurjar and Ramveer Gurjar in connection with the case.

“The arrested men had spotted the trio driving the empty pickup in the morning and identifying them as cow smugglers, planned to rob the men when they returned in the night. That’s how the attack on the men happened,” claimed Beniwal.

Four other men are absconding, said Beniwal.

The police had earlier denied that there was any connection between the killing of Mohammed and the recovery of a badly-damaged pickup van with cows found about 15km away the same day.

But after two days of investigations, Alwar superintendent of police Rahul Prakash said the two incidents were linked and that Mohammed’s killers were “anti-social elements”. But he refused to use the so-called term cow vigilantes, who have over the past year become synonymous with a string of attacks on cattle traders across India.

The police have maintained that the three were smuggling cows and both parties opened fire on each other on November 10. They have also said that Mohammed and Khan had past cases of cow smuggling and other offences registered against them.

Mohammed’s relatives, however, say cow vigilantes are responsible for his murder and alleged that the police were hand in glove with them.

Activists have strongly condemned the arrest of the two men.

“I think that the police are playing politics and it is a travesty of justice that instead of arresting the four absconding people, who attacked Mohammed and the two men, they have arrested the victims themselves,” said Kavita Srivastava of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

Srivastava added that the incident has shown that it is unlikely that victims of lynchings in Rajasthan will ever get justice.

Mohammed’s killing is reminiscent of the murder of cattle trader Pehlu Khan who was waylaid and lynched by cow vigilantes near Alwar on April 1 this year. Khan had documents to prove he wasn’t smuggling cows.

Focus on cow protection, especially by vigilante groups, has risen since the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government took power three years ago, and several states ruled by the saffron organisation made laws to punish cow slaughter.

So-called cow protectors have targeted cattle and meat traders, transporters and even farmers walking their animals – violence that has killed several people, mostly in BJP-ruled states. Critics accuse the vigilantes of using cows as a pretext to target Muslims and Dalits.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Deep is correspondent in Rajasthan and looks after crime. He has a penchant for doing human interest stories and reports on development journalism

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