Smt. Brinda Karat, member, Polit Bureau of CPI(M) and Amra Ram, Central Committee member and Secretary, Rajasthan State Committee of CPI(M) have issued the following statement after visiting Ghatmika village in Rajasthan:

CPI(M) Delegation Meets Families of Victims Burnt Alive by so-called Gaurakshaks

A delegation of the CPI(M) went to Ghatmika village in the Mewati area of Rajasthan on February 17 and met the families  of Junaid and Nasir, who had been kidnapped, brutally beaten and then burnt alive by criminals reportedly belonging to the Bajrang Dal Gau Rakshak gang operating on the border of Rajasthan and Haryana.

The delegation comprised of Brinda Karat (Polit Bureau member) Amra Ram (Rajasthan State Secretary and member Central Committee) Sumitra Chopra, Dr. Sanjay Madhav, Raisa (Rajasthan state secretariat and state committee members) and advocate Shabbir Khan.

1. According to the family, on February 15th, Junaid accompanied by his cousin Nasir left Ghatmika sometime in the evening to meet the family of the boy with whom he hoped to fix the marriage of his brother’s daughter. His brother suffers from a mental disability and it was Junaid who was looking after both families. Junaid, a father of six children, owned a shop which had to be closed during Covid after which he was working as an agricultural worker or doing manual work. The delegation met Shajida, Junaid’s widow and his sister-in-law and their children. Nasir, was a truck driver. Both he and his wife Harmina are orphans. They have no children and Nasir was supporting  his siblings. Their killing has left their dependents desperate and devastated, in need of urgent assistance.

2. The delegation inquired about the reported cases against Junaid on charges of “cow smuggling”. These cases had been filed during the earlier BJP regime along with cases against many others in surrounding villages. Since there was no evidence of any kind, Junaid was never arrested nor have any of the charges been proved even after all these years. In fact, they were false cases filed by a vindictive government to justify the spate of incidents of violence against cattle farmers and traders by the gau rakshak gangs. 

3. The manufactured narrative is that dairy farmers and cattle traders who belong to the Muslim community are actually not dairy farmers but cow slaughterers. The village Ghatmika with a predominantly Muslim population is situated in the Mewati region which has been the target of the so-called gau rakshaks. During the previous BJP regime in Rajasthan, in November 2017, a resident of this village, Umar Khan, a cattle trader was shot dead by the gau rakshaks. This was a few months after the brutal killing of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan.  The family of Umar Khan is yet to get justice. The village apprehends that the same fate awaits the families of Junaid and Nasir. They said they did not want to bury the bodies till all the accused were arrested but were persuaded to do so by the Congress Minister Zahida Khan who assured them of justice. The delegation arrived in the village after the last rites had been performed and could not meet the Minister or officials.

4. Their apprehensions are justified. The FIR filed is on the charge of kidnapping and the charge of murder is yet to be included. Those named in the FIR include the notorious Mohit Yadav known as Manu Manesar who operates with impunity in the region with the approval of the BJP government in Haryana. The burnt car and bodies were found in village Barvas, Loharu in the Bhiwani district of Haryana. So the Haryana police, which has been complicit in providing patronage to the activities of the gau rakshaks, is to be involved with the investigation. Only one of the accused has been arrested.

5. In such a situation it is essential for the Rajasthan Government to act firmly, more so since the initial crime of kidnapping took place in Rajasthan. The criminals named must be arrested without delay. Compensation of fifty lakh rupees, as given by the government in the earlier communal murder of Kanhaiya Lal, should be given to the families of the victims along with employment assistance.

The CPI(M)  strongly condemns the brutal killings. The policy and patronage of the Haryana government and police in protecting the criminal activities of the so-called gau rakshak gangs must be held responsible. The Rajasthan government must also immediately probe the role of the Rajasthan police in this case. The CPI(M) will be giving a memorandum to the Chief Minister with the above demands.