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Photos of Alwar lynching victim ‘do not indicate’ he would die within hours

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Autopsy report says Rakbar Khan died due to fractures in his ribs caused by thrashing; police took 3 hours to take him to hospital.

Alwar, Rajasthan: Knees folded, beaten, eyes half-shut but still alert enough to look straight into the camera — this was how Rakbar Khan looked like hours before his death, corroborating the suggestion that the 28-year old’s life could have been saved had the police not delayed taking him to hospital.

“These pictures don’t look like that of someone who’s going to die…There’s a big difference between his condition in the pictures and his condition when I saw him in the hospital,” Dr Hasan Ali Khan, in-charge of the Community Health Centre in Ramgarh village of Alwar, who declared Khan as “brought dead” told ThePrint.

“This looks like someone who can be saved,” he said looking at the pictures.

Khan was allegedly beaten to death in Alwar district of Rajasthan on suspicion of cow smuggling.

According to the autopsy report, Khan died due to fractures in his ribs caused by thrashing. The broken ribs led to water filling in his lungs, which caused his death.

The pictures of Khan, who was taken in a police van after being thrashed by the cow vigilantes, completely contradict the FIR lodged by the local police the next morning, which states that he “fainted” at the scene of the crime itself.

Rakbar Khan | By special arrangement

What the FIR says

After the police reached the spot in Lalawandi village — 6 km away from the Ramgarh police station — where Khan was allegedly beaten up by villagers and local cow vigilantes, Khan identified himself to the police and collapsed minutes later, the FIR states.

“Some people came to us, stopped us and started beating us up because they thought we were cow smugglers,” Rakbar is quoted to have said in the FIR, a copy of which was accessed by ThePrint.

“At this stage, my friend Aslam managed to escape and run away, (but) the villagers beat me up with sticks because of which (I) have got injuries,” he said the FIR.

These pictures accessed by ThePrint, which show that Khan’s condition was not critical at the time he was brought to the police van, are being hailed as evidence of their “innocence” by the local cow protection group.

Rakbar Khab
Rakbar Khan | By special arrangement

“I was in the car with the police when I took these pictures…He was beaten up, but as you can see, he was conscious throughout,” Nawal Kishore Sharma, chief of a cow protection squad in Ramgarh, and a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, told ThePrint.

Sharma, who had first informed the police of the alleged cow smuggling activity in Lalwandi village, had gone to the crime scene along with the police. “There we even brought new clothes for him (Khan) since he was all wet and his body smothered with mud…The police driver said his car will get spoiled if we put him like this,” he said.

“So we gave him a shower, brought him to the van, had tea, before taking him to the police station…he was all okay,” Sharma added, however, stating that the driver began beating him up while having tea. “But his condition was not so bad at all that he would die,” he added.

The autopsy report has revealed that Khan’s ribs were fractured due to a thrashing. The broken ribs led to water filling in his lungs, which caused his death, the autopsy report further said. Khan’s wrist was also broken, according to the autopsy.

The police’s role in the lynching has come under the scanner over the inexplicable delay of three hours in taking the victim to the hospital.

According to their own FIR, the police first got information at 12.40 am Saturday that the two men, who were taking cows on foot with the intention of slaughtering them, were being attacked by villagers. While the police reached the spot in Lalawandi jungle within half an hour of receiving the information, the victim’s body was brought to the hospital — barely 1 km from the Ramgarh police station — after three hours at 4 am, according to the Community Health Centre’s records, a copy of which is with ThePrint as well.

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