‘Abba’ will never return, Pehlu Khan’s little son awaits his return

“My youngest brother is 5 years old and it’s very difficult to explain to him that ‘Abba’ will never return.

Nuh (Haryana): Residents of Pehlu Khan’s village in Haryana’s Nuh district are terrified after the 55-year-old dairy farmer was stopped by cow vigilantes in Alwar area of Rajasthan and beaten to death.

The deceased, Khan, and four others, including his two sons, were beaten brutally by a group of cow vigilantes on April 1at Behror in Alwar suspecting they were smuggling cows.

Having seen his father being mercilessly beaten to death by cow vigilantes with sticks, rods and belts, Pehlu Khan’s eldest son, Irshad, is unable to comprehend why all this happened to them.

“We were in the pick-up jeeps when we were stopped by them (cow vigilantes). We had all the relevant  papers to show that we were carrying the cows for dairy farming and that we had
purchased them from the Jaipur cow fair. No one listened to us. They attacked us mercilessly, tore our documents and targetted my father, me and others,” Irshad pointed out, even as some other family members looked on frightened.

“They targetted us for being Muslims. Our father was beaten to death in front of our eyes. We had done nothing wrong. The cows were being brought for dairy farming. Our father wanted to have more milk production during the Ramzan month,” Irshad added. The vigilantes told them that they were from the  Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena were in no mood to listen them, said Irshad.

Pehlu Khan is survived by his wife and eight children, the youngest ones aged seven and five and it is hard for the to believe that Khan is no more. The eldest son has no idea on how he is going to console his siblings.

“My youngest brother is 5 years old and it’s very difficult to explain to him that ‘Abba’ will never return. When we left for Jaipur, our father told him that we will return with new cows to produce more milk. But now I don’t have an answer to their questions,” told Khan to Deccan Herald.

For nearly 25 years, dairy farmers from Haryana’s Nuh (earlier Mewat) district having been going to areas in adjoining Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to buy cows and buffalos. For these farmers, mostly poor, things have changed in the last six days after Pehlu Khan was brutally lynched on a national highway.

Not many in the village, with a population of less than 5,000, or nearby areas are even thinking of buying any cows in the future for dairy farming.“No one from the village will risk buying cows now. When the government and police are unable to protect you, there is no hope. Pehlu Khan was killed for no fault,” a woman neighbour of the victim, who refused to give her name, told IANS.

Nuh district in south-west Haryana is Muslim dominated. Of the nearly 11 lakh population in the 2011 Census, nearly 80 per cent population comprised Muslims.

Both Rajasthan, where the attack on Pehlu Khan and others took place, and Haryana have Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments and Hindu activist groups are active in these states.

Cow vigilantes, in the name of ‘Gau Rakshak’ groups have been attacking vehicles carrying cows and buffalos in Haryana and Rajasthan in the past two-three years.

With IANS inputs