A local court in Rajasthan's Alwar on Wednesday acquitted all six of the nine accused in the 2017 Pehlu Khan's lynching case. The case was heard by the court of Additional District Judge, the arguments for which were completed on August 7 on both the sides.
In yet another development, Rajasthan government under Congress leader Ashok Gehlot is going to challenge the Alwar court's verdict of acquitting the six accused in the case. The state government is going to file an appeal against the verdict given by the court of Additional District Judge.
Pehlu Khan was killed two years ago by a mob that set upon him while he was transporting cows. The Additional Judicial Magistrate acquitted the six men, giving them benefit of the doubt, according to a lawyer. Pehlu Khan (55), his two sons and a few others were transporting cows when they were allegedly stopped and thrashed by a mob near Behror in Alwar district on April 1, 2017. He died in hospital on April 3, triggering outrage over the murder and focusing attention on attacks by cow vigilantes.
"The court gave benefit of the doubt to all six accused and acquitted them of lynching charges. We have not received the court order copy and will wait for it to study it and appeal in the higher court," Additional Public Prosecutor Yogendra Khatana told reporters outside the court.
The six accused let off by the court are Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kaluram, Dayanand, Yogesh Kumar and Bheem Rathi. Police had also named three minors in the case. They are facing trial in a juvenile justice court. The court of Additional District Judge Sarita Swami completed the trial proceedings on August 7 and reserved the case for judgment on Wednesday.
The then BJP government in Rajasthan under Vasundhara Raje came under flak over the killing, with the incident escalating the debate over Muslims facing attacks from cow vigilantes. Recently, the Rajasthan Assembly passed the "Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019" introduced by the current Congress government under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the state to tackle mob lynching.
(With PTI inputs)