Two self-declared 'gau rakshaks' were arrested for allegedly killing 42-year-old Ummar Khan whose body was found near railways tracks in the Ramgarh area of Alwar district, police said on Tuesday.
The police have also lodged a cow smuggling case against Ummar Khan, and two other persons, Tahir Khan and Javed, claiming that these three were “habitual” cattle smugglers and were using a stolen pick-up truck to transport cows.
"Bhagwan Singh Gurjar alias Kala and Ramveer Gurjar, residents of Markapur area, were arrested for killing Ummar Khan. They were arrested late Thursday night," SP Alwar Rahul Prakash said.
The two were being interrogated and a hunt is on for the other accused, he said.
Asked whether the accused were robbers or cow vigilantes, Prakash said that there was "no term like cow vigilante" in police vocabulary.
It is a murder case and we are working to arrest the accused involved in the case, he said.
Ummar Khan's body was found near railway tracks in Ramgarh on November 11, with his family members and activists alleging that he was shot dead by cow vigilantes when ferrying cattle in a vehicle the day before.
The incident, which came months after the lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan by suspected cow vigilantes in Alwar, triggered an outrage.
The Alwar SP said that two cases were lodged in connection with the Ummar Khan case.
The first was lodged after the pick-up van with cattle was traced at Govindgarh.
"It was a clear case of cow smuggling and we lodged a case for the same," he said.
The second is a case of murder after Ummar Khan's relatives lodged an FIR, he said.
Alwar Additional Superintendent of Police Mool Singh Rana said both 'gau rakshaks' have confessed to the assault.
“They told us that they had spotted an empty pick-up truck passing through their villages, and suspected that it would return with cows. They planned to waylay it if it returned with cows. When it did, they first threw nails in its path, but the pick-up truck moved on for a few metres,” Rana was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
“The gau rakshaks claimed that the people in the pick-up truck first fired at them, and so they returned fire. We have identified their four accomplices and efforts are on to nab them,” Rana said.
The duo have confessed that they had mutilated Ummar’s body and left it near the railway tracks “to make it look like an accident,” he added.
“Ummar, Tahir and Javed were habitual smugglers. The pick-up truck they were using was stolen from Uttar Pradesh and its numberplate belonged to a motorcycle,” Rana said, adding that Tahir and Javed would be apprehended soon.
Meanwhile, the post-mortem of Ummar Khan's body could not be performed even on Tuesday. SMS Hospital superintendent, Dr D S Meena, said that the post-mortem could not be performed by the medical board as Ummar Khan's family members did not turn up despite several attempts.
The deceased's family members are camping in Jaipur after the body was referred to SMS Hospital here from Alwar.
"No one should die the way my nephew did. We have met senior police officials and will be meeting officials of the chief minister's office today to take up the case," Razzak Khan, uncle of Ummar Khan said.
He said that Ummar Khan's parents are elderly and could not come to Jaipur.
The state government should compensate them with Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh to the kin of Tahir Khan who sustained bullet injury on November 10 incident, Razzak Khan said.
He said that Tahir Khan had informed that on their way back home they were attacked by six to eight people. The assailants opened fire in which Ummar Khan was shot dead and Tahir Khan sustained injuries, he added.