New Delhi: With their less-than-an-acre rice field parched due to poor rains and elder son caught up in a court case, what led to Pehlu Khan’s lynching has ironically turned into the only source of income for his family- Two cows.
In April, Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer from Jaisinghpur village in Haryana, was lynched by self-styled Gau Rakshaks in Behror of Alwar district in Rajasthan.
He was returning home with his sons after purchasing two cows and two calves from Jaipur but was attacked by some cow vigilantes. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital a few days later.
The murder caught national attention and Pehlu Khan became the face of protests against the spate of lynchings across the country in the name of gauraksha or cow protection.
After Khan’s death, two cows — one black and the other a light coloured one — were given to the family by two organisations and now milk from them is the only source of income for the family.
“We get a little money from selling milk and relatives help us with the rest,” Khan’s widow Zaibuna, 50, told IANS here.
Sporting a faded pink salwar with a black dupatta over her head, Zaibuna said her elder son Irshad, who was with his father when they were attacked, is caught up in the case and has not been going for work.
“I’m not able to do anything after his death,” Zaibuna said, adding that earlier she used to help her husband in their field.
As she started to explain how life has been after Khan’s death, her eight-year-old son Inshad came running and hugged Zaibuna — his arms could barely reach her waist.
“We make around 150 rupees a day by selling milk and rest of the milk is used in the household,” Irshad, 24, said.
The financial condition of his family is very unstable.
Irshad used to work as a driver, but not any more.
“How will I go? Now it’s my responsibility to look after the whole family. Will I look after the family and manage the case, or go for driving?” he asked.
He said the two cows they had bought from Jaipur for Rs 45,000 never reached their house and they were shifted to a “gaushala” in Rajasthan.
Apart from the financial crunch, the family also has a tough legal battle ahead of them to get justice for Khan’s murder.
“Last time I went to Behror for the case, they (people close to the accused) stopped their car near ours and told me that they’ll shoot me if I come back,” Irshad told IANS.
The family has sought a court-monitored probe into Khan’s killing and demanded shifting the case out of Rajasthan, after the local police gave a clean chit to six of the accused.
“They beat him (Khan) in front of my eyes,” Irshad said about the six persons who got the clean chit.
Earlier, five other accused had also got bail on the ground that they were not present at the spot during the crime.
Irshad has only one question for the government, the police, and the judiciary: “If no one was there, then who killed my father?”