New Delhi: At least four people have been arrested so far over the lynching of 55-year-old Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan’s Alwar and the police are looking for 10 more alleged cow vigilantes. But BJP MLA from Alwar’s Ramgarh, Gyandev Ahuja, claims half the people named by the police in the FIR are innocent.
“They were not at the spot,” Ahuja says, adding that he’s talking to the local SP to get the “investigation on the right track”. He claims that cow vigilantes are being “unnecessarily” harassed by the police due to “personal vendetta”.
One year short of turning 70, Ahuja claims to be a proud gau rakshak (cow protector) himself and makes no bones about supporting others. “Wo janwar nahi hai, gau mata hai (Cow’s not an animal. It’s our mother),” he says.
In an interview to News18, Ahuja maintains that Khan, a dairy farmer, died of “shock”. Excerpts:
As the local BJP leader and an MLA, how do you see the violence against Pehlu Khan and others?
I don’t think they were really out to kill them. If they really wanted to kill the cow smugglers, why would they spare the other eight who were with Pehlu Khan. Think about it. Why were the others let go so easily? And what about these people? These minority community people recently killed 36 cows in our area. They have killed cows in the past as well. There is a sense of anger about this. And nobody in the media is talking about this continued assault on our faith. They should have some sense as well.
You have claimed that Pehlu Khan died due to shock. However, in a recent interview, a doctor who conducted the post-mortem claimed that he died due to physical injuries.
Pehlu Khan died because of shock. I don’t know which doctor says what. Just check the post mortem report and you will understand that he had a heart problem. He was taking the cows illegally along with eight others. But that doesn’t mean that I support violence. I am totally against it.
Members of various cow vigilante groups here in Alwar are claiming that the accused named by the police in the FIR weren’t actually on the spot. They claim that these people are being framed. Do you agree with them?
The people mentioned in the FIR are innocent. Half of them weren’t there. If you observe the videos carefully, they are not carrying any weapons. Police are exacting their personal revenge against them. Police have some gripe against cow rakshaks, some personal score to settle.
I have been talking to the SP of the area to enquire about the case and to help him get the investigation on the right track. I have told them that some innocent people are being framed in the case. I am told that all the videos and other evidence have been sent to forensic sciences lab for investigation.
But this isn’t the first incident of its kind. There have been reports about excesses committed by cow vigilante groups in the name of protecting cows earlier too, and from Alwar. Do you feel concerned?
There is a propaganda going on to defame gau rakshaks. I know how gau raksha is done. I have myself been a gau rakshak for the last 50 years. I have been actively involved in this. People put their life on line to save cows. It’s not a joke. That’s why I support gau rakshaks.
I have a good understanding of this because I have seen the Sangh from up close. I was a member of the ABVP, went on to join Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. I have heard that they are from the Bajrang Dal but I haven’t gone to the spot.