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Who Killed My Father? Asks Pehlu Khan’s Son After Court Acquits All 6 Accused

A local court in Alwar, Rajasthan on Wednesday, August 14, acquitted six out of the nine accused in 2017 lynching of Pehlu Khan, a cattle trader.

The court of Additional District Judge, Sarita Swami, heard the case for which and the hearing concluded on August 7.

Earlier, six people, who were allegedly accused in the case, were given a clean chit based on mobile phone records and the statement of the caretaker of a cow shelter.

The remaining three accused are minors and are being tried in a juvenile court.

“Who killed my father then?” Pehlu Khan’s son asks helplessly after the court’s judgement.

In the 92-page judgment delivered on Wednesday, Additional District & Sessions Judge Sarita Swami ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and neither the evidence of its witnesses nor the material placed on record was enough to convict the six persons.

The Gruesome Attack

In April 2017, Pehlu Khan and his sons were on the way to their village in Haryana transporting cattle they had bought from a fair in Jaipur. Their truck was attacked by a group of cow vigilantes on the Jaipur-Delhi highway, who dragged the 55-year-old out and mercilessly thrashed him.

He succumbed to his injuries two days after the attack.

Video of the incident showing the men throwing Khan to the ground and kicking him repeatedly went viral.

Why Were The Accused Set Free?

Based on statements of the staff of a cow shelter and mobile phone records, the court gave a clean chit to all six accused of lynching Khan in 2017.

The Alwar court in its final verdict maintained that it was unclear as to who shot the video as the police failed to seize the mobile phone on which the incident was recorded. The phone was thus not sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for examination, the court stated.

Pehlu Khan’s statement was recorded without a statement from his doctors concerning his mental and physical condition, the Court observed. Further, the report was presented before the police after a delay of 16 hours for lodging a complaint.

The court said that the pictures and phone call records submitted as evidence failed to prove the crime and hence they could not be accepted as evidence.

The court said that the statement of Pehlu Khan was not recorded following the proper norms before his death. The post mortem report from Kailash Hospital remained unclear, hiding many details of the case.

The court thus concluded that there were ‘serious lacunae’ in the investigation and acquitted all the six accused.

Akhtar Hussain, the lawyer representing Pehlu Khan’s family, said the acquittals would lead to a rise in the number of lynching cases across the country.

Chief Minister’s Take

Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot has announced that the State government would file an appeal in the Rajasthan High Court challenging the sessions court’s judgment.

“Our government has enacted a law against mob lynching in the first week of August. We are committed to ensuring justice for the family of late Pehlu Khan,” he said.

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