Published On : Wed, Jul 25th, 2018

Are the Rajasthan police being used to deflect blame from VHP Gorakshaks in Alwar lynching?

We saw a strange spectacle on English News TV stations yesterday. All channels, including those ‘friendly’ to BJP establishments were crying themselves hoarse protesting the latest lynching of a poor Muslim cow farmer on the Haryana – Rajasthan border.

Never have they been so unanimous and strident in pulling up Government officials, specially police in the “delay that resulted in Rakbar’s death”. Why so much sympathy suddenly for a lynching victim?

Then the penny dropped!

The real motive behind the furor became clear when the Home Minister Rajnath Singh came out with the blunt allegation that ” this was a custodial death”. Meaning, the police killed him, not the Gau Rakshaks who had allegedly beaten him up even before they informed the police about it.

To back this claim, suddenly two days after the killing, a time discrepancy was brought up. “Why did the police take over 3 hours to take the injured man to the hospital?” Then details of what the police – again allegedly – did were disclosed.

They first went to the police station. They beat up Rakbar ( again!). They changed his muddy clothes into dry ones – before or after the beating was not made clear… ( and since when have Indian police started showing so much sensitivity that would change the clothes of someone they had/ or intended to beat up? )

Then they had tea….then they arranged for the cows to be transported to a Gaushala. (Why so? Rakbar Khan had paid good money to buy the cows legitimately. He was in the Milk business.)

And then they finally took him to the hospital – making him sit on the floor of the jeep after folding up the seat! ( This detail was provided by Times Now.)

We were also shown on TV – again all channels – a very high level team of politicians and police men going to the spot in the fields where Rakbar and his companion were first assaulted by villagers/ Gau Rakshaks.

I do not remember such a high level team taking any other lynching case so seriously before and showing such action – do you?

But when Rajnath Singh called it custodial death, the motive became clear.

Blame the police – not the Gaurakshaks, who are all VHP, Bajrang Dal or in short men of the BJP’s Hindutva Brigade! This was to be the official narrative which was faithfully scripted and aired by most media.

But the Police are saying something quite contrary now!

We have seen another video – posted by whom we do not know – that has gone viral and that has one of the policeman concerned saying ” I am guilty, so punish me!” Listen to his tone and his attitude when he says that…sounds like someone who is fed up of giving explanations.

Given below is the version another Police officer has come up with: (Courtesy, Wire)

Subhash Chandra, sub-inspector, Ramgarh police station told The Wire, “At around 12:45 am, we received a call from a person named Naval Kishore stating that a cow smuggler has been found in the Lalawandi area. Some time later, the same person came to the police station on a bike and directed us to the spot. We took him [Rakbar Khan] to the hospital at 4:00 am. Meanwhile, we were arranging for a vehicle to transport the cows to the Jain Sudha Sagar Gaushala situated about six kilometres from the station. Later, Mohan Singh, assistant sub-inspector, himself filed an FIR under section 143 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 302 (murder), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).”

“We took [Rakbar] to the hospital directly from Lalawandi. He wasn’t brought to the station so there isn’t any chance of us changing his clothes. Those who are making such stories in our name are free to do so,” he added.

Whatever the truth about the delay, by the time Rakbar was taken to the Ramgarh Community Health Centre (CHC), he was already dead. CHC in-charge, Dr Hasan Ali Khan said, “Rakbar was dead when the police brought him to the CHC at 4:00 am. When I asked for a post-mortem, the police said it would be done in Alwar.” The doctor said Rakbar’s clothes were dry, which suggests they had perhaps been changed.

Rakbar’s family was informed about his death in the morning. “We were told at 7:30 am in the morning, when the sarpanch received a call from Ramgarh police station stating that Rakbar has expired. While leaving home, he had told us that he was going to Khansar to bring a cow back,” said Harun Khan, Rakbar’s cousin brother.

“When we took Rakbar for the ritual bath before his funeral, we saw that his legs, hands and neck bones were broken in three or four placed. They beat him so badly and left him to die.”

Blame is clearly sought to be shifted say community leaders

Local activists and community leaders believe that reports of a delay in taking Rakbar to hospital have been put out to complicate the clear fact that local goons under the cover of ‘cow protection’ killed Rakbar.

“The murderers are trying to shift the entire blame for their crime on to the police so they can roam scot free. However, the reality is that they first attacked him, then called the police. After having seen the investigations in past lynching cases, we are sure that this time too the murderers would be given a clean chit. When the MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja openly supports the mob, then what sort of justice are we supposed to expect?” said Maulana Hanif, chief Imam of Alwar.
They said that while the police might well be a party to the crime, the fact that Rakbar was lynched by a mob can’t be ignored.
“The story the Vishwa Hindu Parishad people have planted about the time lapse by the police is just meant to complicate the investigation,” Sher Mohammad, Alwar’s Meo panchayat chief, told The Wire.

Rajasthan Government has also shown unusual alacrity in suspending ‘erring’ policemen even before conducting a probe!

Is this the new narrative being formulated in view of SC strictures on lynching cases, and also with next year’s elections in view?

But on the other hand, to maintain the Majority ‘Vote Bank’ BJP leaders are still on a rampage of making allegations and issuing warnings!

A day after murder of Rakbar Khan, Indresh Kumar, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh recruit tasked with domesticating, taming, and in short, nationalising of Muslims, said mob killings would stop the moment beef eating stops.

As columnist Apoorvanand writes ( again for the Wire)

‘A trade off has been offered. It is for the beef eaters to respond. And now you also know that the killings won’t cease till beef eating ends. So there is no use asking the government to put an end to it – it is for the Muslims to act first.

Before him, a Central minister made it clear that such killings would increase with the increase in the popularity of the present prime minister.

Rajnath Singh himself is responsible for preparing the ground for these killings. To go to any extent to stop people from eating beef is a nationalist duty.

Let us recall his words of applause for BSF jawans just after the Narendra Modi government assumed power in 2014. He asked them to go all out to stop the smuggling of cows to Bangladesh. Who can object to such a demand? Let us however read what he told them days after this exhortation. The Times of India reported, “I am told [the] prices of beef in Bangladesh have gone up by 30% recently due to heightened vigil by [the] BSF against cattle smuggling. You further intensify your vigil so that the cattle smuggling stops completely and prices of beef escalate 70 to 80% more so that the people of Bangladesh give up eating beef.”

Singh mixed this call with making India cow slaughter free. One can see how cleverly he mixes the defence of national security and the national economy with changing the dietary preferences of even foreign nationals. You have to go to any extent to do that.

Read how a villager explained the killing of Rakbar: He said he had informed the goons to apprehend the “cow smugglers”. “Our farms are the last spot where these smugglers could be caught. Beyond these, the Mohammedan area starts,” he said.

So, Rakbar had to be caught before that border. He was, and then was disposed off. ‘

Sadly he may not be the last…

Sunita Mudaliar

Executive Editor