[Gau Rakshaks as they posed on a Facebook page.]
Mewat: 55-year-old Pehlu Khan of Haryana, who died on Wednesday two days after he was mercilesslyy beaten to death by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes in Alwar district of Rajasthan, was a dairy farmer, not a cattle smuggler as was claimed to justify the brutal murder.
According to a report by Indian Express, most of the villagers in Jaisinghpur town of Haryana are farmers, there are about 10 dairy farmers and Pehlu Khan was one of them. On Friday, four other dairy farmers from the village had also travelled to Jaipur to buy buffaloes and cows. Zakir Khan, the biggest dairy farmer in the village, was among them.
Zakir, who buys milk from the smaller dairy farmers in the village, confirmed that Pehlu Khan was one of his suppliers. He dug out his records to show that Irshad, Pehlu Khan's son, had been supplying milk to him for the last four years.
Later on they were attacked by the self proclaimed cow protectors even after they reportedly produced documents to show they had bought the cows from a "Pashu Mela" or livestock fair in Jaipur. While Pehlu Khan died two days after the assault, his companions are still in hospital.
The horrible incident, what is being termed as the repeat of Dadri where a Muslim man was beaten to death for allegedly eating beef, was video recorded and later widely shared on internet.
In the video the cow vigilantes are seen dragging the five out of their pick-up truck, and chasing and beating them up in the middle of Behror highway.
The self-appointed cow vigilantes appeared to have a free run and local government defended the attackers.
"The mistake was from both the sides. Why people smuggle cattle when it is illegal. Gau Rakshaks did a good job, but they took law in their hands", Rajasthan Home Minister is reported to have said aftre the brutal incident.
One local police officer, Ramesh Chand Sinsinwar, has been quoted in reports as saying that the cow vigilantes are linked to rightwing hardliners and had stopped several vehicles on Saturday, "to check for cow smugglers".
According to the Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act, 1995, the export of cows for slaughter is prohibited and whosoever does so is considered a law breaker and abettor.
The Alwar killing took place amid rampant crackdown on slaughterhouses by Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh and days after Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh reportedly vowed "those guilty of cow slaughter will be hanged."
Interestingly, the BJP ever since it came to power in New Delhi and other states is imposing bans on cow slaughter, it is taking a totally opposite stand on the matter in Goa, Kerala and Northeastern Indian states.
Last week, a senior BJP leader said that a ban on beef is not in BJP's agenda in Northeast, another party leader said that the BJP will make sure smooth availability of beef it comes to power in Kerala.
Questioning the double standard of the BJP on the issue, its ally Shiv Sena asked how can the party ban cow slaughter in one state and allow in another.