The body of a 35-year-old man who was transporting cows was found near railway tracks in Rajasthan's Alwar district on Saturday, with activists alleging that he was killed by cow vigilantes.
The body of Umar Khan, hailing from Ghatmika village in Bharatpur district, was recovered near Ramgarh on Saturday and has been sent for post-mortem, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Ramgarh Circle) Anil Beniwal said on Sunday.
"The matter is under investigation. We are awaiting the post-mortem report," Govindgarh police station SHO Daulat Ram said.
The post-mortem will be conducted in Jaipur.
According to the DSP, preliminary inquiry has revealed that Khan was involved in cow smuggling.
Police said Khan, along with two others, was transporting cattle in a vehicle on November 10.
Police said a deserted pickup with bovines was found in the district Friday morning and Umar was one of the three persons who were inside the vehicle when the animals were being transported, the Indian Express reported,
“Not much is clear at this moment. A vehicle belonging to cattle smugglers was found abandoned at about 6 am on Friday under the jurisdiction of Alwar’s Govindgarh police station,” Alwar SP Rahul Prakash was quoted as saying by the daily.
Prakash said an FIR was lodged under The Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, against the alleged cow smugglers on Friday and the vehicle sent to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).
“The pickup had three cows and three calves – one of the cows was dead. The front two tyres were missing and both rear tyres were punctured. Later, a dead body was also found about 15 kilometres away in Ramgarh area by the railway tracks. His relatives identified him as Umar, aged about 35 years, and hailing from Bharatpur,” Beniwal said.
A second FIR was lodged on Sunday under IPC section 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) following a complaint by Umar’s family members.
Social worker Maulana Haneef claimed that Khan, along with two others, was ferrying cattle in a vehicle when unidentified men opened fire at them. Khan died on the spot.
"We staged a protest outside the mortuary at a hospital in Alwar where the body was kept and have demanded early arrest of the accused," he said.
The head of Meo community panchayat, Sher Mohammad, said that even if Umar Khan was involved in cow smuggling, there are laws to deal with smugglers. "Who has given the cow vigilantes the right to take the law into own hands. Police should act against cow vigilantes," he said.
Mohammad alleged that the cow vigilantes killed Umar and then threw his body at the railway tracks to make it look like an accident.
Umar’s relatives said there were two others with him at the time of assault. They identified them as Tahir and Javed.
Umar’s uncle Ilyas said Javed, who was the only one who managed to escape, recounted that they were attacked by gunmen. Tahir, sustained injuries and is being treated at a hospital in Haryana, Ilyas said.
CO Beniwal, however, said that “prima facie, no bullet marks were found on the pickup or on the body.”
The incident came months after the killing of Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer from Nuh district of Haryana.
In April this year, 55-year-old Pehlu Khan was lynched by suspected cow vigilantes in Alwar while he was transporting cattle, triggering a nationwide outrage.
The Mewat region is known for rearing cows and now "self-proclaimed cow sympathisers" of various right wing outfits are targeting those who rear cows, the social activist said.