Tried To Take Law In Their Hand Under Garb Of Religion: Alwar Court in 2018 Rakbar Khan Lynching Case

The Alwar court observed that the accused tried to take the law in their hand under the garb of religion and tried to take action on their own level on cow smugglers.

Rakbar Khan, the victim who was lynched to death by a mob on suspicion of cow smuggling.

A local court in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on Thursday held four people guilty and acquitted one person in the 2018 Rakbar Khan lynching case. Rakbar Khan, alias Akbar Khan, was killed over the suspicion of cattle smuggling in Alwar district.

Special Public Prosecutor Ashok Sharma told Outlook, "Dharmendra Yadav, Paramjeet, Vijay Kumar and Naresh Kumar have been held guilty under sections 304, 341 of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 341 (wrongful restraint). The fifth accused, Nawal Kishore, however, was acquitted by the court over lack of evidence". All four, who were out on bail, have been taken into custody. The quantum of punishment is yet to be decided.

"The accused have tried to take the law in their hand under the garb of religion and tried to take action on their own level on cow smugglers. No religion gives permission to spread violence or hate",  Additional District and Sessions Judge Sunil Kumar Goyal said in its judgement.

"In a secular country such as India such incidents result in dealing a severe blow on the soul of the Indian constitution ", the judgement says. 

The court added, "In such incidents which have high impact on the society, if a soft approach is undertaken then there is a high possibility of sending an opposite message in the society.  Due to the actions of the accused, Rakbar (alias Akbar), who has several minor children, died an untimely death".

Recap of 2018 Alwar Lynching Case

On the intervening night of July 20 and 21, 2018, Rakbar (31) along with his friend Aslam Khan (32) were transporting cows they had purchased from Ladpura village when they were allegedly stopped by villagers in Lalwandi in Alwar. The duo was walking towards their village Kolgaon in Haryana, around 11 kilometres from Lalwandi. Rakbar was brutally beaten with sticks and stones and severely assaulted. He succumbed to injuries after police took him to hospital. On the other hand, his friend Aslam had managed to escape from the spot.

Ashok Sharma, Special Public Prosecutor, told Outlook, "The fifth accused, Nawal Kishore has been acquitted on account of insufficient evidence against him". Naval Kishore, a local VHP leader, was the man who had allegedly circulated a picture of Rakbar Khan sitting inside a police car. The incident had then raised questions on police, leading to which the then-home minister Gulab Chand Kataria in the previous BJP regime, had ordered a judicial inquiry.

Rakbar was the third dairy farmer to be allegedly lynched in the Mewat region of Rajasthan, exactly fifteen months after Pehlu Khan was lynched.

The fourth arrest in the Rakbar Khan case, of Vijay Kumar, a resident of Lalawandi village, was made in August 2019  after the Congress government decided to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the lapses during investigation in the Pehlu Khan lynching case. The court of Additional District Judge had acquitted all six men accused on the benefit of doubt, in the alleged lynching of 55-year-old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan.

The SIT team had three members including Deputy Inspector General, SOG Nitin Deep Blaggan, SP CID-CB Samir Kumar Singh and Additional SP vigilance Samir Dubey. The SIT was monitored by the additional director general of police (crime).