New Delhi, (IANS): Social activists on Thursday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the spate of lynchings in the country and termed the gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) “stormtroopers” from Hitler’s Germany.
The activists were speaking at the launch of a report here on an independent investigation into the lynching of Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, earlier this year by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan.
The social activists said they will form a group of lawyers, activists and individuals and fight about 30 cases of lynchings.
The report said the investigation has exposed how police tried to “weaken” the probe by delaying filing of the FIR and invoking IPC sections of crimes with lesser punishment among others.
The investigation termed the police action as “monumental inefficiency” or a “deliberate attempt to weaken the cases against the accused gau rakshaks”.
In April, Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer from Jaisinghpur village in Haryana, was lynched by the cow vigilantes in Behror in Alwar district of Rajasthan. He was returning home after purchasing two cows and two calves from Jaipur.
The murder caught national attention and Khan became the face of protests against the spate of lynchings across the country in the name of gau raksha or cow protection.
Speaking on the occasion, senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said “an army of gangsters in the name of gau raksha” is doing the lynchings and termed them as “stormtroopers from Hitler’s time”.
He said they work with the support of the government and police work with them.
“If we don’t stand up now, then our number would be next,” the senior lawyer said.
Indira Jaising, former Additional Solicitor General of India, said that there are manuals produced by RSS and VHP that guide their staff members on how to kill a case.
Jaising said that there was a pattern on how all the lynching cases were being killed.
Colin Gonsalves, a human rights lawyer, told IANS they would come up with a team to fight the lynchings in less than a month.
“Fascism is at our doorstep and it would take only a little time for the stormtroopers to get all of us,” he said and added that people should fight back.
The senior lawyer said to end these lynchings, the “political brain” behind it should be held accountable.
Teesta Setalvad, human rights activist, said that she’ll be part of the team to fight the “cow terrorism” and will seek the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
She said similar to the Gujarat riots, many lynching cases were being closed.
Khan’s son Irshad, 24, who was with him at the time of the attack said though police arrived within minutes of the attack, the FIR was filed almost nine hours later.
He said people have threatened to kill him if he goes back to fight the case in Behror.
Ajith Sahi, who did the investigation, said six persons, named by Khan in his dying declaration, were let off by police stating their mobile location showed they were not at the spot.
This was the first of a series of reports to be released on the spate of lynchings.
Khan’s wife, younger son and grandson were also present on the occasion.