SC says ‘nobody can wash off their hands’ in lynching cases but 6 named in Pehlu Khan’s murder freed of charges

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The top court, on September 6, had directed all 29 states and seven union territories (UTs) to take urgent steps to stop violence in the name of cow protection. SC also asked them to appoint a senior police officer as the nodal officer in every district within a week then to check such vigilante groups.

Pehlu Khan

“Nobody can wash off their hands,” remarked the Supreme Court yesterday as it asked top officials to update it of the steps undertaken to deal with cow vigilante groups in 22 states.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said,

“Let the compliance reports be filed…nobody can wash off their hands (from their duty). We will give directions to all the states.”

The bench was informed during the brief hearing that five states — Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat — have already filed their compliance affidavits and Bihar and Maharashtra would be filing it during the day.

It further asked the chief secretaries for the remaining 22 states to file compliance reports by October 13 and fixed PILs, including one filed by Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi on the issue, for hearing on October 31.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for Gandhi, said the central government has been directed to frame a national policy on preventing incidents of cow vigilantism, which has been on the rise since 2014.

She also said there were several judgements, which notify that mandatory award of compensation must be provided to the victims of such crimes, however, unfortunately the money was not being paid.

Jaising also raised the issue of Junaid, who was killed by a group of fellow passengers while returning to his Ballabhgarh home with his brothers after Eid shopping in Delhi on June 23. His family members were not paid any compensation until now, and his father who suffered a heart attack and undergoing treatment at a hospital in Noida in Uttar Pradesh, was out of any money for paying his medical bills.

“I am asking for the formulation of a scheme on compensation,” she said.

However, the bench remarked asking her not to mix up the two issues.

“Don’t mix up the issues,” the bench said.

The top court has directed the states to form a dedicated task force in every district to curtail such acts. SC has also instructed their chief secretaries to file a status report giving details of actions taken to prevent incidents of cow vigilantism.

Further as reported by PTI, the top court had also asked the states to ensure constant highway patrolling after it was pointed out that such incidents took place more on highways on the pretext that vehicles are carrying beef.

Activist Tehseen Poonawalla is also fighting a similar petition along with Tushar Gandhi.

In another story, despite SC giving strict instructions for ensuring absolute security against this menace, investigations against those named in Pehlu Khan murder, have been dropped. Pehlu Khan was killed by a mob for carrying cattle in Rajasthan’s Alwar district and had named six men in the FIR.

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