Two cases of lynching from two different states. One from Rajasthan’s Alwar where Pehlu Khan was bludgeoned to death on the suspicion of cow smuggling, another from Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur where 38-year-old Qasim was lynched on a similar grounds. In both the cases, apart from the fact that they were lynched by “Gau Rakshaks” one more thing is common; the accused in both the cases are out on bail. An NDTV investigation involving hidden cameras has revealed accounts of two of the main accused in separate cases. The accused has disclosed details of the lynching and also stated that they were involved in the deaths. After this news sting, the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the Hapur lynching case.
NDTV sent a team of reporters to visit the accused in the two states. The team claimed that they were researchers from the US doing field work on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other Hindutva outfits. Their reporter first went to Bajedha Khurd village in western Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur district, nearly two hours from Delhi.
On June 18, 38-year-old Qasim, a cattle trader was lynched and 65-year-old Samayuddin, a farmer, was severely beaten up by a mob in Hapur district. According to reports, the two men were beaten up by irate villagers when rumours of them trying to steal three cows and a calf for slaughtering spread in the area.
“They slaughtered cows. I killed them”
The Hapur police arrested nine men on severe charges of murder, attempt to murder and rioting. The four of the nine in the case are currently out on bail. Further, NDTV met with one of the accused, Rakesh Sisodia, who is out on bail.
According to the charge sheet, Sisodia, in a written statement to the Court, said he had no role in the lynching of Qasim. In fact, he also claimed in his statement that he was not even present at the spot at the time of the incident. Sisodia was in jail- for five weeks, and since then, he is out on bail.
While speaking to the reporters posing as researchers, Sisodia without any remorse stated that he has accepted the harsh reality of his crime in front of the jail authorities as well. “Haan maine bola ki wo gaaye kaat rahe they, maine usko kaat diya… jailer ke saamne ( I told the jailer as well, that they (the Muslim victim) was slaughtering cows, so I slaughtered them),” said Sisodia as recorded by the hidden camera.
Sisodia, further said that he is proud of going to the jail. He added, “Pehli baar mai jab jail gaya, to mujhe dar lagna chaaiye thaa. Lekin nai maine waha bhi khoob dhoom machaai aur jab jailer ne jaate hi poocha ki kis case mein aayae ho? Mene turant kaha, 302 aur 307, full murder and half murder. (The first time when I went to the jail, I should have felt scared, but no, I was not scared at all. When the jailer asked me, what was my case? I told him section 302 and 307, full and half murder.)”
On the NDTV camera, which Sisodia was not aware of, he went on to say, that he got a hero style welcome once he came out of jail on bail.
“Mujhe 3-4 gaadi jail par lene gai thi. Rakesh Sisodia zindabd ke naarey laagey. Mera swaagat kiya logo ne baahe failaa ke, mujhe bada garv hua (Some three to four cars had come to pick me up from jail. People were raising slogans in my name. People welcomed me with open arms, I felt very proud),” he added.
Sisodia, also told the reporters that he has his Army ready if anyone slaughters a cow, his Army will kill the person. He told the channel that there’s one thing which he does regret, which is the fact that his heinous crime has been caught on camera. He further said that the police is in his support. “The police is on our side because of the government. Otherwise, nothing would’ve happened if Azam Khan was in power,” he said.
Azam khan is one of the founding members of the Samajwadi Party. He was the minister in the state under the previous Samajwadi government rule. As seen in the sting, it appears that Sisodia had no guilt about the fact that he did not give water to Qasim while he was dying.
“Maine kaha tujhe paani peene kaa haq nai hai, tune marti hui gaaye ko paani nai diya. Meri fauj tujhe choregi nahi tujhe ek ek minute maaregi s*** ko. (I told Qasim, that he has no right to drink water. As he did not give water to the cow, he was slaughtering. My army will kill him),” said Sisodia to the NDTV reporters.
“We kept beating him (victim) for 1.5 hours”
After the chilling interaction with the accused Rakesh Sisodia, the reporters from Hapur, travelled to Behror town in Alwar, nearly three hours from Jaipur.
Last year, in April Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer was lynched by self-claimed ‘Gau Rakshaks’ in Alwar district in Rajasthan. After the lynching, police arrested six men who were named by Khan in his dying declaration but released them based on the testimonies of people from the local Gaushala in Behror even though videographic evidence of the crime was available everywhere. The police filed a charge sheet before the additional chief judicial magistrate of Behror court on January 24, 2018, and charged Pehlu Khan (deceased victim) and companions under Sections 5,8,9 of the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995 and Rules, 1995
The NDTV team met with one of the main accused in the case, Vipin Yadav. He like the other accused in his statement claimed that he had no role to play in the killing. “Haan humlog 1.5 ghante tak pitate rahe, pehle 10 aadmi aaye phir 20 aadmi aaye waha karib 500 log akatrit ho gaye. (We kept beating him (victim) for 1.5 hours. First there were some 10 people then the crowd swelled),” he said to NDTV reporters, who were again posing as research scholars from the US.
While the hidden camera was recording, Vipin revealed the details of the case accepting that he was the one who dragged the victims out of the truck. “They weren’t stopping their trucks, so I had to overtake them and take their keys to catch them,” he said as reported by the NDTV.
Vipin further said, “He (Pehlu) was badly beaten up, while that happened I had forgotten that the keys to his truck were left in my pocket and by the time the police came, I had fled the spot.”
According to the Quint, the NDTV reporter said that he was able to get the two accused talking about their crime by making the accused believed that he “understood their ideology and himself believed in it”.
Supreme Court intervention
The NDTV news in its August 6, Monday segment called, “Reality Check” telecasted the two accused – Rakesh Sisodia and Vipin Yadav – accepting their crime in the above cases mentioned.
Soon after the channel aired the sting, on August 7, a lawyer for the Hapur lynching victims went to the Supreme Court for an “urgent hearing” in the Hapur case. Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra has agreed to hear the case.