Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria on Tuesday said the investigation into the death of a Haryana farmer, Rakbar Khan, who was severely assaulted with sticks and firearms by a group of seven men in Alwar district last week, suggested that he died in police custody. The Minister said the policemen had shown “negligence and lapses” in dealing with the case.
Rakbar’s family, however, rubbished the reports as an attempt to shift the blame for his death onto the police and shield the cow vigilantes responsible for the murder.
Mr. Kataria, who visited Lalawandi village in the Ramgarh area of Alwar, to see the spot where Rakbar, 31, was waylaid and assaulted, said a magisterial inquiry would be conducted, while action had already been initiated against the police officials of the Ramgarh station.
The Minister was accompanied by Director-General of Police O.P. Galhotra. The site in a field adjacent to a narrow road in the forest area was muddy and showed signs of a struggle.
“The policemen should have immediately taken the victim to the hospital for treatment, but instead they first took the cows to the
(cow shelter). This delay resulted in Rakbar’s custodial death,” Mr. Kataria told reporters in Alwar.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Mohan Singh was placed under suspension and three policemen of the constable’s rank have been sent to the Police Lines.
The Home Minister announced financial assistance of Rs. 1.25 lakh to the next of kin of Rakbar, and said more assistance would be released on the recommendation of the District Legal Services Authority.
He said he had met members of Rakbar’s family and assured them of a thorough probe and punishment of the guilty.
Rakbar’s post-mortem report, released by the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Alwar on Tuesday, revealed that he had died of shock as a result of internal injuries, fractures and bruises all over the body. “The injuries were caused by a blunt weapon or object,” stated the report. A medical board, comprising a surgeon, a physician and a medical jurist, said there were 13 injuries on the body and a lot of blood in his chest. Multiple fractures and damage to ribs were also found during the body’s medical examination. The viscera were preserved to rule out any pre-existing disease.
Dismissing the Minister’s statement of police complicity in Rakbar’s death, his uncle Noor Ahmed said the reports were an attempt to protect the cow vigilantes.
Kin suspect cover-up
“There could be negligence on the part of the police in delaying medical aid to him, but he was not beaten up by them,” said Mr. Ahmed.
He said there was an eye-witness, Aslam, who managed to escape.
National President of the All-India Mewati Samaj Ramzan Chaudhary, said both the police personnel and the cow vigilantes were responsible for Rakbar’s death.
“The footprints spread over a large area in the fields in Lalawandi prove that the major scuffle took place there. Later, the police also wasted crucial time in shifting him to the health centre. The police might have also beaten him up, but he sustained critical injuries at the hands of the cow vigilantes,” said Mr. Chaudhary. He said a committee of people from six villages and social activists was set up to take forward the fight for justice.
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