A delegation of CPI(M) led by Nilotpal Basu, Polit Bureau member and ex MP and Haryana Secretary Surender Singh visited Firozpur Jhirka and village Kolgaon yesterday to meet the family of lynching victim Akbar Khan alias Rakbar Khan by a vigilante group on the intervening night of July 20-21 in Ramgarh (Alwar) Rajasthan.
The delegation noted that this lynching is particularly shocking as it comes within days of the stinging Supreme Court judgment over vigilante crimes and such groups taking upon themselves the functions of law enforcement, based on self-declared allegations.
Anger and anguish raged among the people there who questioned whether the Meos have no right to rear cows and will continue to be singled out and attacked? However, what appeared to be extremely heartening was the palpable sense of brotherhood and solidarity across communities, a traditional feature in these areas, despite such grave provocations to polarise the society.
The Mewat area, as a whole, is extremely backward. Main occupation is rain fed agriculture and animal husbandry. Rearing of cattle is one of the main sources of livelihood.
The delegation came to know that lynching took place at about 12.45 am and the police was informed immediately. It came to the place of incident at about 1.20 am but police took about 3 hours to take the victim to hospital (CHC) which is just 4 Kms away. In this way they wasted crucial time. It’s a serious matter. The role of police needs to be investigated.
This is not the first instance when such lynching has taken place in the region. There is political patronage to these cow vigilante groups. In this case, as well, there is every likelihood of complicity of a nexus of cow vigilante groups, police administration and ruling party politicians.
It is shameful that till now none from the government of Haryana has visited the victim’s family to console. No formal declaration of compensation has been made either by Haryana or Rajasthan government.
Akbar’s family is very poor with a house of one room and a thatch. He was a marginal dairy farmer and part time labourer. He has 7 children between the ages of 1 year to 14 years. He was the sole bread earner of the family. The whole family is devastated by his death. Akbar along with Aslam had gone to purchase cows and were returning with two cows and two calves.
The villagers told the party delegation that Kolgaon is on border with Rajasthan. Nearest town is Navgaon in Rajasthan just 9 Kms away. They have to visit it for their daily needs and have to face humiliation. Their motor cycles, tractors and other vehicles are towed away by police. Even when they take their cattle for insemination they are caught, attacked, humiliated and sometimes their cattle are also snatched away. There is a general bias amongst the police of adjoining Rajasthan areas against these people.
The CPI(M) reiterates its condemnation of this brutal murder and similar incidents of lynching and demands that, i) all the culprits, most of whom have been identified by name, must be arrested and punished. ii) role of Rajasthan police in the whole episode be investigated and guilty be punished. iii) adequate compensation is given for the victim’s family. iv) cows purchased by Akbar and Aslam be handed over to the family.
The delegation was accompanied by important leaders of the state and the district committees and important social activists from the area.