Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, on Wednesday, said that the state government would appeal against the acquittal of all six accused in the lynching of Pehlu Khan. "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," Gehlot tweeted.
A Rajasthan court on Wednesday acquitted all the six accused in the lynching of Khan, a Muslim cattle trader, in 2017. The Alwar Additional Judicial Magistrate acquitted the six men, giving them benefit of the doubt.
"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 six accused let off by the court are Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kaluram, Dayanand, Yogesh Kumar and Bheem Rathi.
The lynching of Pehlu Khan, which was caught on camera, had evoked horror nationwide and triggered protests against the activities of cow vigilantes (gaurakshaks).
Pehlu Khan was a native of Nuh, Haryana. He was attacked by over a dozen gaurakshaks in Behror, Rajasthan, on the Delhi-Alwar highway on April 1, 2017, for allegedly transporting cattle without permission. Pehlu Khan died of his injuries in hospital two days later.
Interestingly, the Rajasthan police had initially given a clean chit to six accused in the lynching of Pehlu Khan. In December last year, the Rajasthan Police also framed charges against Pehlu Khan and his two sons for violations of the state's law on cow slaughter.
Pehlu Khan's family claimed he had receipts to show the purchase of cattle from a cattle fair in Jaipur.
Speaking to reporters before the verdict, Pehlu Khan's family's lawyer said they expected life imprisonment for all the six accused in the case. Lawyer Qasim Khan alleged there was political pressure in the case.
More than 40 witnesses, including Pehlu Khan's sons, deposed in the trial. Pehlu Khan's sons were with him when he was attacked.