Acquittals Will Lead to Rise in Incidents of Lynchings, Says Lawyer Representing Pehlu Khan's Family
Akhtar Hussain, the lawyer who represented Pehlu Khan's family in court, said that poor handling of the case by the local police had led to zero convictions.
A picture of Pehlu Khan.
New Delhi: The lawyer who has been representing Pehlu Khan's family on Wednesday said the acquittals in the case will lead to a surge in the number of lynching cases across the county.
His observation came after a court in Rajasthan's Alwar acquitted all six accused in the case of Pehlu Khan's lynching. The verdict was pronounced by the court of the Additional District Judge in Alwar.
"Such verdicts are bound to lead to an increase in the morale of mob-lynchers across the country," Akhtar Hussain, representing Pehlu Khan's family, told News18. "Such verdicts will not lead to a mitigation in the number of such crimes."
Hussain added that Khan's family will challenge the acquittal in the Rajasthan High Court.
The lawyer said that the poor handling of the case by the local police had led to zero convictions in the case.
"The police team in-charge of investigating this case let us down at multiple levels. First, the video that showed the accused lynching Pehlu was not sent to forensic labs in time. The photos from this video weren't vetted by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in time, which led the court to not admit the video as permissible evidence," Hussain said.
The lawyer added that the statements of eyewitness accounts of four people testified against the accused in court were also not taken by the police in time.
"I don't know why the police did not act in time. Was it to benefit the accused in the case? I don't know. But it can be said that the police deliberately diluted the case. We had provided foolproof evidence. Apart from the video, we had given a postmortem report of Pehlu Khan, which clearly stated that he died of multiple external injuries," Hussain said.
Khan, a 55-year-old native of Haryana’s Nuh, had left his village to purchase cattle in order to increase milk produce for Ramzan. Surrounded by a mob of cow vigilantes on the Delhi-Alwar highway on April 1, 2017, he tried to save himself by showing his purchase receipts, but was lynched with rods and sticks.
A total of nine people were accused of lynching Pehlu Khan in 2017. Three of the accused are juveniles who are being tried separately. The remaining six were acquitted on Wednesday.
A news channel had earlier produced video footage showing Vipin Yadav, one of those accused, claiming that he beat up Pehlu Khan for an hour and a half and that he was the one who chased and stopped the two pick-up trucks.
"Haan humlog 1.5 ghante tak pitate rahe... pehle 10 aadmi aaye, phir 20 aadmi aaye, waha karib 500 log akatrit ho gaye (We kept beating him up for 1.5 hours. Initially, there were 10 people, then there were 20, then the crowd swelled to around 500)," Yadav had said.
Yadav had walked out on bail a month later, and even this video was not accepted as evidence by the lower court.
The Rajasthan Police in had filed a chargesheet against Pehlu Khan and his two sons for cattle smuggling.
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