NEW DELHI: We are very disturbed by the lynching and murder of Pehlu Khan in Alwar . He was attacked on April 1st at Behror in Alwar District and died of the injuries a few days later. We are also dismayed by the acts of omission and commission of the government following the incident, including the delay and marked reluctance in arresting all those guilty of the act.
You are aware of the fact that Pehlu Khan and four others were returning to Haryana from Rajasthan with the cows they had bought, and the necessary documents corroborating the fact that the purchase had no relationship with cow slaughter. Cows of a well-known breed of milch cattle were being transported from a cattle fair in Rajasthan to their village in Haryana.
While one may have strongly differing sentiments on the importance of cows, and their slaughter or consumption, the killing of Pehlu Khan by an arbitrary self- appointed group of vigilantes shows us how much we have succeeded in undermining the most basic principles and values on which we have based our nation. This kind of vigilantism if not checked will lead to large scale violence, brazen disregard for the rule of law, and the complete disregard of constitutional provisions, the preservation of which is a fundamental responsibility of any democratic government.
The act of lynching is in itself a mindless and horrifying act, and yet the perpetrators have not been promptly and legally dealt with. The post facto delays and inefficiencies reflect on the inefficacy of government. Vigilantism must be seen as a serious threat to law and order and peoples’ lives and the government must act strongly and immediately.
There has been a reprehensible attempt on the part of certain people in authority in Rajasthan as well as in the Union government to deny this horrific incident, or to minimise its gravity. Other authority figures, whose duty it was to make on example of the perpetrators of this crime, have made themselves complicit by their inaction and silence.
In this context, we would urge that the FIRs registered in regard to this incident and the dying statement of Pehlu Khan be acted on decisively. The culprits must be arrested to restore the faith of the victims’ families and their communities in the system of justice in the country. The failure to take immediate action at this juncture will amount to a mockery of good governance and the rule of law, and will inevitably lead to anarchy.
We are sure you will appreciate the urgency and importance of your public statement and action in this matter, and restore the confidence in the government of Rajasthan by:
· Arresting all those who attacked Pehlu Khan.
· Ending all vigilantism in the name of cow protection.
· Punishment of police/administrative personnel for dereliction of duty.