It took three hours for the police in Rajasthan to take a mob attack victim to a hospital just 20 minutes away. Rakbar Khan, 28, bled to death on Friday night as policemen, before taking him to hospital, arranged a shelter for his cows and paused for tea and snacks. They even gave the wounded man a wash, claiming he was "too muddy".
Rakbar Khan and his friend Aslam were attacked at a village in Alwar by cow vigilantes who saw them walking with cows and suspected they were smuggling the animals.
"They tried to catch me and Rakbar. They started hitting Rakbar with sticks. I got away but I saw them and heard them hitting Rakbar,"Aslam has said in his first written statement to the police, known as "parcha bayaan". Aslam, who escaped the attack, is a key witness in the case.
Aslam says he had heard people in the mob saying "you can't do anything to us, we are the MLA's men" and "set him on fire". He has also named the attackers. "They were calling each other Suresh, Vijay, Paramjeet, Naresh and Dharmendra". Three of them have been arrested.
Speaking to NDTV on Saturday, Aslam had said: "I could not tell who the attackers were."
The police reached the spot around 1 am. It was around 4 am on Saturday when they reached hospital with Rakbar, who was declared dead. "Rakbar had severe injuries due to the beating. He died of internal bleeding," a doctor said.
The Rajasthan police has asked a top-level panel to investigate the outrageous delay in taking Rakbar to hospital.
The mob killing by cow vigilantes, the latest in a series of such attacks, has spurred a political row in the state where elections will be held later this year.
The Congress targeted the state's ruling BJP. Congress president Rahul Gandhi commented that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "brutal new India".
Policemen in #Alwar took 3 hrs to get a dying Rakbar Khan, the victim of a lynch mob, to a hospital just 6 KM away.- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 23, 2018
They took a tea-break enroute.
This is Modi's brutal "New India" where humanity is replaced with hatred and people are crushed and left to die. https://t.co/sNdzX6eVSU
For the tweet, Rahul Gandhi received a barrage of acrid BJP responses that called him the "merchant of hate".
Among them was that of acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, who accused the Congress president of playing divisive politics.
Stop jumping with joy every time a crime happens, Mr Rahul Gandhi.- Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) July 23, 2018
The state has already assured strict & prompt action.
You divide the society in every manner possible for electoral gains & then shed crocodile tears.
Enough is Enough. You are a MERCHANT OF HATE. https://t.co/4thsyNL3nx
Union minister Smriti Irani used the term "vulture politics" to target Mr Gandhi.
"Rahul Gandhi's family presided over the worst form of hate in 1984, Bhagalpur & Nellie & many other instances. It is shameful that he is doing the same through vulture politics. Not a single instance goes by where he doesn't attempt to rupture social bonds for electoral gains," she wrote.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh declined to comment on the mob attack. His ministry has ordered a report on what happened.
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