- Rajasthan man beaten by mob on suspicion of cattle smuggling
- Police accused of wasting hours while he died from injuries
- After NDTV report, case transferred out of local police station
The man who died in Rajasthan's Alwar after being beaten by a mob on suspicion of cattle smuggling, was in police custody for three hours before he was taken to a hospital early on Saturday, NDTV has found. The police arranged for vehicles to take the seized cows to a shelter, visited the police station - a stone's throw from the hospital -- and even stopped for tea before getting medical help for the injured man. By the time they did, he was dead.
An eyewitness also told NDTV that she saw the police beating the injured man.
The police have said 28-year-old Rakbar Khan died "on way to hospital". They have arrested three persons from Alwar's Lallawandi village, who, they say, will be charged with murder.
After the NDTV report on Sunday, the investigation was transferred from the local police station and given to a senior police officer. The police will also investigate why it took so long for the victim to get medical attention, senior police officer Hemant Priyadarshi said.
NDTV found that the First Information Report in the case shows the police got a call about the incident at 12.41 am. They reached at 1.15 or 1.20 am, Naval Kishore, a right-wing supporter who made the call, told NDTV.
According to Mr Kishore, who accompanied the police, the cops gave the injured man a bath, since he was covered in mud, and then took off to run errands.
Their first stop was Mr Kishore's house, to organise transport to ferry the cows to a local cattle shelter. One of his relatives, Maya, told NDTV that she saw "a policeman beating the man inside the vehicle and abusing him." Asked if the man was still alive, she said yes.
As arrangements were being made for the vehicle, the policemen headed out for refreshments. With the injured man complaining of pain, the policemen drank cups of tea from a nearby stall. Later, the policemen went to the police station with the injured man, Mr Kishore said, adding that he took the cows to the cow shelter.
Around 4 am, the man was taken to the local hospital, just a kilometer from the police station. A doctor there told NDTV that the man was already dead. The entry in the medical register corroborated the time.
Asked about the role of the police, the seniormost officer of the local police, Rajendra Chowdhury said: "I assumed charge yesterday and I'm still trying to apprise myself to the facts of this case. But I can assure you that we will investigate whoever is involved in this case."
The death of Rakbar Khan comes more than a year after dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was killed in a similar fashion. The 55-year-old had been set upon by a group while he was taking home two cows bought at a cattle fair in April 2017.
Rakbar Khan and his friend were targeted when they were seen taking home a couple of cows they had bought from a nearby village. The men, residents of a Haryana village, were walking through a forest area when they were targeted by the locals in Lallawandi village. The mob mercilessly attacked them with sticks and stones.
State lawmaker Gyandev Ahuja has said the man died not because of beating by crowds but in police custody, to which home minister Gulab Chand Kataria has said the guilty will be punished.