The man Rakbar Khan attacked by a mob of cow vigilantes in Rajasthan's Alwar died of shock after suffering injuries all over his body from a "blunt weapon or object", a post-mortem report has said.
Rakbar Khan, the mob victim, also had a lot of blood in his chest and had suffered multiple fractures, according to the report.
Rakbar Khan and his friend Aslam were attacked late on Friday night by villagers who thought they were smuggling cows. He was beaten with sticks and stones while his friend managed to escape.
It took the police three hours to take the 28-year-old to a hospital just 20 minutes away. Rakbar was declared dead on arrival.
According to the autopsy report, Rakbar died of shock as a result of his injuries. He was beaten in the ribs and back, and his leg and wrist were fractured. There was 750 ml blood in his chest. There were seven-eight fractures on his body.
An injury found near Rakbar's head was caused by a blunt weapon or object, the report says.
"Internal bleeding lead to the death," said Rajeev Gupta, one of the doctors who performed the autopsy.
Rakbar's brother has said that he was beaten so severely that even his neck was broken.
The delay by the police in taking him to hospital is being investigated. Besides making arrangements for Rakbar's cows, the police allegedly also stopped for tea before reaching the hospital.
Action has been taken against three policemen. Assistant sub-inspector Mohan Singh was suspended and two constables have been moved to an insignificant role.
A Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader who called the police to the attack spot and also accompanied them for much of the three-hour journey to the hospital, has released images of Rakbar Khan sitting upright after the attack.
"See I took this picture in the police vehicle. See, he looks fine," said the leader, Naval Kishore, implying that Rakbar was "fine" before he reached the police station.
"We have no information yet about the victim being thrashed in custody, but yes, prima facie we have found that there was indeed an error in judgement in deciding what was important at that point," NRK Reddy, Special Director General of Police, said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will next month hear a plea seeking contempt proceedings against the Rajasthan government over the lynching of a man in Alwar last week.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, before whom it was mentioned, said it will hear it on August 28 on which day the main petition on the matter has been listed.
The contempt plea by Congress worker Tehseen Poonawala and activist Tushar Gandhi contended that incidents of mob lynching and vigilantism were continuing despite the apex court’s July 17 order decrying them.
The petitioners urged that directions be issued to follow the apex court verdict in letter and spirit.
The Supreme Court had on July 17 asked Parliament to consider enacting a new law to effectively deal with incidents of mob lynching, saying “horrendous acts of mobocracy” cannot be allowed to become a new norm.
The judgment, which came on petitions filed by Tushar and Poonawala said, “the recurrent pattern of violence…cannot be allowed to become the new normal” and warned that “lynching and mob violence are creeping threats that may gradually take the shape of a Typhon-like monster as evidenced in the wake of the rising wave of incidents of recurring patterns by frenzied mobs across the country instigated by intolerance and misinformed by circulation of fake news and false stories”.
Rajasthan police on Monday suspended assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Mohan Singh after he admitted that there had been a delay of three hours in taking 28-year-old lynching victim Rakbar Khan to hospital.
A four-member committee constituted by the police to look into the delay also transferred three constables to police lines.
Singh was caught on camera admitting that he had “made a mistake” and was “ready for punishment”. However, he denied allegations that the victim was beaten to death in the police station.
“Mere se galti hogai... kaise bhi maan lo... sazaa de do ya chhod do... seedhi si baat hai (I made a mistake... punish me or pardon me... it is simple and straight),” the official can be heard saying.
Addressing the media at a press conference in Alwar, special DGP (law and order) NRK Reddy said, “There was an error in judgment in trying to respond to the situation. The preliminary investigation suggested there was an error in prioritising the situation.”
In the primary investigation, Reddy claimed the policemen have not been found involved in beating the victim and it was not a case of custodial death.
The police had arrested two accused — Dharmendra Yadav and Paramjeet Singh — on Saturday, while the third, Naresh Singh, was arrested on Sunday. The three are under police custody for five days.
It is alleged that when the incident happened in Alwar’s Lalawandi village, it took over two-and-a-half hours for the police to take the victim to the Ramgarh Community Healthcare Centre, which is nearly 4km away.
Khan and his friend Aslam were taking cows to their villages in Haryana through a forest in Alwar’s Ramgarh area when they were accosted by a mob and allegedly attacked. While Aslam managed to flee, Khan was allegedly lynched.
As per the FIR lodged with Ramgarh police station on Saturday, Naval Kishore Sharma, the chief of VHP’s ‘Gau Raksha’ cell in Ramgarh, had informed the police about the incident at 12.41am on Saturday.
Police reached the spot at around 1.15am and recorded Khan’s statement before taking him to the police station. As per the CHC entry register, the body of a 28-year-old male was brought in at 4.00am.
Questioning the role of the police, local Ramgarh MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja demanded a judicial enquiry to find out if Khan was lynched by a mob or beaten to death by the cops.
The probe was handed over to additional SP (crime and vigilance), Jaipur Range, on Sunday. “The investigation will be carried out in a fair and transparent manner,” IG Hemant Priyadarshi had said.
Amid countrywide outrage over mob killings, the Centre has asked a group of ministers led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to examine ways of stopping the attacks and then submit a report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.