Alwar Lynching: Police preferred settling the cows as Rakbar 'appeared okay'

Rangoli Agrawal | Jul 22, 2018 | 6 min read


The two timelines to the Alwar lynching

Rangoli Agrawal

Jaipur: In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Rakbar alias Akbar Khan, succumbed to death as he became the seventh person in Rajasthan since April 2017 to have died of mob violence. Akbar was allegedly beaten by a mob in Alwar on Friday night, as the crowd suspected him to be a cow smuggler.

The Ramgarh Police, with eyewitness Naval Kishore Sharma, went to the Gaushala (cow shed) to drop the cows before taking Rakbar to closest medical help available, says Sharma, as they felt he was ‘in absolute proper’ condition.

“After almost one hour of constantly questioning Akbar in the police station, where he was also thrashed, the sub-inspector asked me to accompany him to the Gaushala to drop the cows. Akbar was fine and there were no signs of ill health. He was talking to us very normally,” says Sharma, also a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader. Sharma says that Rakbar had accepted that he was smuggling cows during the investigation at the police station.

‘Gaushala was nine kms from police station’

Sharma says that they then followed the tempo which was hired to carry the cows. “The Gaushala was nine kilometres away so it took us half an hour one side. After about an hour, we reached back to the police station, after which Akbar was taken to the hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead’. The hospital is about 50 meters away from the station,” Sharma added. He further stated that while the post-mortem report states fracture and internal bleeding, there was ‘not one scratch on his upper body’, which could indicate that he needed immediate medication.

However, Rakbar’s neighbour, Shekhawat Khan states otherwise. “I washed his body before the cremation and there was not one body part that did not bleed. One of his legs was broken from four places, and in total, about eight of his bones were broken. Even his ribs were broken,” Khan said.

Rajasthan has been infamous for lynching cases with Rakbar being marked as the seventh case since April 2017 when Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer in Alwar, was accused of cattle smuggling and lynched to death.

Meanwhile, Rakbar Khan was accompanied by Aslam Khan, who had managed to escape that night. “We had decided to take the cows from Khanpur village in Rajasthan to our hometown in Haryana during the night as the cows get distracted from the traffic during the day,” Aslam informed.

“We had bought the cows for Rs. 30,000 each and were taking them home to feed our children some milk. Akbar was the only breadwinner for his family and had seven children. I am not aware if he was beaten by the villagers, I was scared,” Aslam said.  

Two timelines to the incident

Going by the accounts of the two eyewitnesses to the incident, we have two versions of the timeline in which the events had followed:

Naval Kishore Sharma

12:15 am: Sharma gets a call which he did not answer.

12:25 am: His nephew wakes him up and he speaks to the villagers who seek the police’s help as the cows had entered their fields.

12:41 am: He calls the police.

1:15 am: Sharma and Police reach the spot where Akbar was found lying in a pool of mud.

1:45 am: Police finish washing Akbar and they head to the police station.

1:55 am: They stop at a tea stall for a break.

2:10 am: They reached the police station where Akbar was questioned and thrashed again.

3:00 am: They decided to leave for the Gaushala.

3:26 am: They reach Gaushala to drop the cows.

4:00 am: They return to the police station

4:05 am: They take Rakbar to Community Health Centre where he was declared dead.

Aslam Khan

11:00 pm: They left Khanpur.

1:20 am: They reached Lalawandi village, which was on their way.

1:30 am: They hear firing and some villagers running towards them.

1:35 am: Aslam hid behind the bushes while Akbar along with the cows ran in fields.

2:00 am: Aslam came out of hiding after the police went

5:00 am: He reached the village as he got lost during the night

The contradiction in the two timelines appears at 1.30am. While in Aslam’s version they were attacked at 1.30am, according to Sharma the cows had entered the fields at 12.25am, and he even got a call at 12.15am, which Sharma says he did not answer. Did he get to know about the ‘cow smugglers’ even before Rakbar and Aslam had reached Lalawandi village?

“Transportation of cows is a very informal act as there is no documentation done for the same. In 2014, he (Rakbar) was bringing the cows from somewhere in a similar manner when he was booked for cow smuggling. However, no action was taken against him and only an inquiry was conducted,” said Shekhawat Khan. Ramgarh Police was unavailable for any comment on Monday. However, they have mentioned in a press release on Monday that a committee has been formed to look into the matter.

Director General of Police, Rajasthan, O P Galhotra, issued orders to set up an investigation committee to scrutinize Rakbar’s death, an incident which took place on 21 to 22 July 2018. The committee will include Special Director General of Police (law and order), Additional Director General of Police (CID-CB) PK Singh, Inspector General of Police in the Jaipur range, Hemant Priyadarshy, and Inspector General of Police- CID CB Jaipur, Mahendra Singh Chaudhary, who is also a nodal officer for cow vigilance. “The committee has been instructed to report on the details and reasons for the alleged delay in taking (the victim) to the hospital,” the release said.

Three suspects have already been booked by the police for alleged participation in the lynching. In addition to this, according to various reports, Mohan Singh, additional sub-inspector, Ramgarh Police Station, who was on duty during the incident, has been suspended.

The centre has also sought a report on the alleged mob lynching. The Home Ministry has asked Rajasthan government to provide details and take action as early as possible, as reported by the PTI. The issue was also raised in the Lok Sabha session by the opposition.

- with inputs from Vishakha Agnihotri

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