- Rakbar Khan thrashed in Alwar on suspicion of cattle smuggling on Friday
- Taken to hospital by cops hours after attack took place, declared dead
- State Home Minister promises judicial inquiry, compensation for victim
A man attacked by a mob of cow vigilantes in Rajasthan's Alwar on Friday had died in police custody, the state home minister said today, after NDTV reported that the police had taken the critically wounded man to hospital after a three-hour delay. The government says it will order a judicial inquiry into the matter.
"The evidence we have collected suggests death in custody. The time they wasted was the cause of death," said Ghulab Chand Kataria. "After investigating we have found out that the cows were first dropped off at the gaushala (shelter). They shouldn't have done that," the minister added, bypassing questions raised about the possibility of Rakbar Khan dying after being beaten in police custody.
Rakbar Khan and his friend Aslam were attacked late on Friday night by villagers who thought they were smuggling cows. He was beaten with sticks and stones while is friend managed to escape. The 28-year-old was taken to hospital by the police three hours after the attack, by which time he was dead. On the way to the hospital, the police had arranged to transport the cows to a shelter, went to the police station and even took a tea break.
Naval Kishore, the right-wing member who initially informed the police about the attack and then accompanied them, had produced a photograph of the injured man sitting upright inside the police car. "I am saying again and again that these boys did not beat the man, the police also did," he told reporters today, referring to the three men arrested by the police shortly after the attack.
According to the autopsy report, Rakbar died of shock as a result of his injuries. "There were injuries on the body... internal bleeding lead to the death," said Rajeev Gupta, one of the doctors who performed the autopsy. There were seven-eight fractures on his body. Rakbar's brother has said that he was beaten so severely that even his neck was broken.
Mr Kataria today visited the family and announced a compensation of Rs 1.25 lakh - a first in the state where another man, a 55-year-old dairy farmer was beaten to death, allegedly by cow vigilantes, in April last year. The men he named in his deathbed confession have been released by the police, who claim they were not in the spot during the attack.
In this case, action has been taken against three policemen. Assistant sub-inspector Mohan Singh has been suspended and two constables shifted to Police Lines.
Amid countrywide outrage over mob killings, the home ministry today issued a circular that said states are responsible for "controlling crime, maintaining law and order and protecting the life and property of citizens". The states, the notice said, should take into account a Supreme Court order to do all that's needed to curb such incidents.
Assembly elections will be held in Rajasthan later this year.
A group of ministers led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh would study the recommendations of a high-level panel to discuss ways to stop the attacks and then submit a report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre has said.