Vasundhara Raje Breaks Silence On Alwar Dairy Farmer's Killing

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After Alwar dairy farmer's killing, Vasundhara Raje said "such activities wont be tolerated".


Jaipur:  Days after a scathing letter from retired bureaucrats and civil society activists, Rajasthan Chief Miniser Vasundhara Raje has finally broken her three-week silence on the death of Pehlu Khan. Ms Raje issued a warning to cow vigilantes, who had allegedly beaten to death the 55-year-old dairy farmer from Alwar on April 1.  Her indictment was a first from the state government in the case that triggered outrage and had ripples in Parliament. Earlier, her minister Gulab Chand Kataria had described it as "manhandling".

"The police are investigating the matter and some people have been arrested. I want to make it clear that such activities won't be tolerated in Rajasthan," Ms Raje said. The police have arrested five men for Pehlu Khan's murder. But activists who are holding protests over the issue claim a sixth is yet to be arrested.

The letter from former bureaucrats, including Wajahat Habibullah, Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander, sent on Sunday, had strong words for the state government. Pointing to the tardy action by the state police, it said, "We are dismayed by the acts of omission and commission of the government... including the delay and marked reluctance in arresting those guilty of the act."

"There has been a reprehensible attempt on the part of certain people in authority in Rajasthan as well as in the Union government to deny this horrific incident, or to minimise its gravity. Other authority figures... have made themselves complicit," the letter read.

The state police have charged Mr Khan, who was transferring two cows bought at a fair for dairy farming on April 1, with cattle smuggling. Mr Khan's son, who was accompanying him, has produced documents of the purchase.

Widely circulated videos of the attack show the 55-year-old yanked by his neck, thrown to the ground and kicked. After Mr Khan's death, yet another video surfaced which shows a young student arrested for the murder being eulogized by the leader of the cow vigilante group - one Kamal Didi. The saffron-robed president of Rasthriya Mahila Gau Rakshak Dal was heard comparing the teen with freedom fighters like Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.

Last month, the self-proclaimed "gau rakshak" had led a mob to clash with the staff of a hotel in Jaipur, alleging that it was serving beef. The hotel was eventually sealed.


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