Acquittal Of Pehlu Khan Accused “Shocking”, Says Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

New Delhi: 

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today expressed shock over a Rajasthan trial court’s acquittal of six men accused of beating dairy farmer Pehlu Khan to death two years ago on suspicion of cattle smuggling, stating there could be “no place for inhumaneness” in India. In messages posted on Twitter, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra criticised the court’s verdict and backed the Congress-led Rajasthan government to secure justice for Pehlu Khan and his family, pointing to an anti-lynching bill passed in the recently concluded assembly session.

“The lower court decision in the Pehlu Khan case is shocking. There should be no place for inhumaneness in our country and the murder by a mob is a heinous crime,” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wrote in Hindi.

On Wednesday a Rajasthan court had acquitted the six accused, citing benefit of doubt, despite all of them being caught on mobile phone camera; the video shows the men dragging Pehlu Khan by the neck, throwing him to the ground and repeatedly kicking him.

The disturbing video, which went viral, had helped the police identify and arrest some of the accused.

The Congress-led Rajasthan government has confirmed it will appeal the verdict.

In a tweet after the verdict was announced, Chief Minister Gehlot said his government was committed to ensuring justice for Pehlu Khan and his family.

“It is hoped that it will set a good example in getting justice in the Pehlu Khan case,” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra added, referring the state government’s decision to appeal the verdict.

Earlier this month the Rajasthan government passed a law against mob lynching, under which those found guilty face a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh and life imprisonment.

In April 2017, Pehlu Khan and his sons were transporting cattle from a fair in Jaipur to their village in Haryana. Their truck was intercepted by a group of cow vigilantes who dragged the 55-year-old out and thrashed him. He was finally taken to hospital where he died of his injuries.

Pehlu Khan’s lynching came to symbolize the lowest point in a system that allowed mobs to kill in the name of protecting cows and get away with it, either because of political links or shoddy investigation.

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