Umar Lynching: Alwar Police eat crow, blame "anti-social elements"

Written by Deborah Grey | Published on: November 13, 2017
Rajasthan is fast emerging as the hotbed of Gautankwad or Cow Vigilantism in India. Recently, yet another dairy farmer, Umar Mohammed, was shot dead and then thrown on the railway tracks allegedly by members of cow protection groups associated with right wing extremist organizations. It is alleged that this happened in the presence of the police and in fact, Umar was killed by a bullet fired by the police who were trying to control the situation. But now, the police say that it was in fact “anti-social elements” who killed Umar.

Umar Lynching

“The attackers were basically anti-social elements who attacked Umar and two other passengers of the pickup as they were smuggling cows. They later asked somebody else to dump Umar’s body on the railway track,” said Alwar SP Rahul Prakash. Prakash said an FIR for murder had been lodged on the basis of a statement by Ilyas Khan, Umar’s uncle. A minor boy, who the police say is an accused, has been taken into custody, and he has allegedly named five other attackers. Umar’s body has been sent to Jaipur for autopsy.

Umar was returning home with his two companions Javed and Tahir after purchasing two cows late on the night of Nov 10. “They purchased the cows at a village about 30 kilometers away as cattle are more expensive in nearby villages,” explains Zila Parishad member Sharif Khan. “The cow protection groups have an excellent network and keep updating their men using cell phones. They were waiting for Umar and his friends when they arrived and immediately started shooting,” says Khan. The incident took place Pahadi Village in Alwar District. Interestingly, it was Alwar that Pehlu Khan was also lynched under similar circumstances.

Kavita Shrivastav, President Peoples Union of Civil Liberty, agrees that the attack on Umar was planned and executed with precision, “They used a belt with iron nails to puncture the tyres of the vehicle in which Umar and his companions were travelling with the cows. This not only shows that they had prior knowledge, but also that they were unconcerned about the consequences of their actions. They enjoy protection from higher powers!” Shrivastav says that this is the fifth incident of lynching in the region. “Abdul Jaffar Qureshi, Pehlu Khan, Zafar Khan and even a non-Muslim man Bhakt Ram have been killed so far,” she says.

Interestingly, first the police filed an FIR against Umar under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act. It is only after pressure from the villagers and civil society groups that a second FIR was filed against “unknown persons”. Even now, the police are shying away from naming any of the right wing groups allegedly involved in the case.

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