ALWAR (Rajasthan, India) – A group of men have claimed that the body of a 35-year-old man found on railway tracks in Rajasthan’s Alwar was that of their relative’s and alleged that he was shot dead by cow vigilantes for transporting cattle, triggering tension in the region.
Police, however, said they were investigating two different cases — that of the man’s body found on tracks in Ramgarh area on Friday, and that of a badly-damaged pickup van with five cows and a dead one found about 15 km away in Fahadi village of Govind Garh area on the same day — and refused to draw connections between the two for now.
Maulana Haneef, a social worker, said the body belonged to Umar Mohammed, a dairy farmer who along with Tahir Khan and Jabba were taking their pet cows to Ghat Mika village from Bharatpur on Friday night when some people opened fire on them near Govindgarh, killing Mohammad on the spot.
Tahir Khan suffered a bullet wound and was taken to a hospital in Ferozepur in Haryana while Jabba was not traceable, he said.
Jamshed Khan, village head of Tuleda, who is leading the Meo community in a sit-in outside the local hospital mortuary, said VHP workers were behind the shooting, although it was a matter of investigation as to how Mohammed’s body was found on railway tracks, far from the place of incident.
“The Meo community will not accept the corpse until and unless the perpetrators are brought to justice. Till then, we will be sitting on dharna outside the hospital gates,” he said.
Anil Beniwal, assistant superintendent of police, Alwar (south), said the whole incident was being wrongly presented by combining two different incidents.
“We have found one body in Ramgarh on Railway tracks while police has found five cows and one dead cow in a pickup near Govindgarh,” he said.
“These two are different occurrences while the victim party is viewing them in concurrence, which is a matter of investigation. Victim party is claiming that a group of gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) attacked them and they were taking the name of one Rakesh repeatedly,” said Beniwal.
Ramgarh station house officer, Ajit Singh said the body found on tracks had several injuries on it, suggesting that a train had passed over it.
Police said it was so mangled that they could not confirm whether it had bullet injuries.
ASP Beniwal said efforts are being made to identify the deceased and the body would be sent to Jaipur for post-mortem, only after which it would be confirmed whether the body “sustained bullet injuries”.
“This is a repeat of the Pehlu Khan incident as these men were also attacked while transporting cattle,” said Haneef.
In April this year, Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Haryana was lynched by an angry mob in Alwar’s Behror when he was transporting cattle.
“This was a joint operation by the cow vigilantes and the police. It’s quite evident that the police shot Mohammed and later dumped his body to destroy evidence,” said Kavita Srivastava of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.
Meanwhile, a case of cow smuggling has been registered against unidentified persons under the Rajasthan Bovine Act.