In a ruling that has snowballed into a major controversy, An Alwar court has acquitted all six accused in the lynching of Pehlu Khan, allegedly killed two years ago by a mob that set upon him while he was transporting cows.
Hours after the verdict, the Rajasthan government said it will appeal against the verdict delivered by the court of an additional district judge.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has tweeted that his government will appeal against the verdict
Our State Government has enacted law against mob lynching in first week of August 2019.
We are committed to ensuring justice for family of late Sh Pehlu Khan.
State Government will file appeal against order of ADJ.
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) August 14, 2019
Apart from the six acquitted by the Alwar court, three others — all under 18 — are still facing a separate inquiry by a juvenile justice board.
While acquitting the six men, the court gave them benefit of the doubt, according to a lawyer.
A lawyer representing the accused said the witnesses produced by the prosecution failed to identify them.
He also claimed that the video that purportedly showed the lynching was not sent to a forensic lab by the prosecution.
Pehlu Khan, 55, his two sons and a few others were transporting cows when they were allegedly stopped and thrashed by cow vigilantes near Behror on April 1, 2017.
Later, a video clip surfaced on social media purportedly showing a group of men beating them.
Khan, a resident of Jaisinghpura village in Haryana’s Nuh district, died in hospital on April 3, triggering outrage over the murder and focusing attention on attacks by cow vigilantes.
“The court gave benefit of the doubt to all six accused and acquitted them of lynching charges. We have not received the court order copy and will wait for it to study it and appeal in the higher court,” Additional Public Prosecutor Yogendra Khatana told reporters.
The accused let off by the court are Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kaluram, Dayanand, Yogesh Kumar and Bheem Rathi.