BJP minister Meghwal links Alwar lynching to PM’s popularity

BJP minister Meghwal links Alwar lynching to PM’s popularity
Arjun Ram Meghwal (file)
New Delhi, Jul 22 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/23/2018 12:01:32 AM IST
Union Minister and senior BJP leader Arjun Ram Meghwal has sparked a controversy, saying the Alwar lynching incident was related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rising popularity and the more popular he becomes the more such incidents would happen in the country.
He said while the death by beating on Friday night of a 28-year-old man on suspicion of cow smuggling was condemnable but the 1984 Sikh riots remain the “biggest example of mob lynching” in India’s history.
“We condemn mob lynching but this is not a single incident. You have to trace this back in history. Why does this happen? Who should stop this? What happened with Sikhs in 1984 was the biggest mob lynching of this nation’s history,” Meghwal said on Saturday.
He said such mob lynching incidents were happening to defame the BJP government amid rising popularity of Modi.
“The more popular Modiji becomes, the more such incidents will happen. In Bihar elections, it was ‘award wapsi’. In Uttar Pradesh elections, it was again mob lynching. In 2019 elections, it will be something else. Modiji has given (developmental) schemes and their effect is now being felt on the ground. Such incidents are reaction to (his popularity).”
The killing comes four days after the central and state governments came under a sharp criticism from the Supreme Court over frequent lynching incidents. 
The Supreme Court also asked Parliament to come up with a law to tackle cow vigilantism and lynch, calling such incidents “horrendous acts of mobocracy” that should be nipped in the bud.
 Police laxity blamed for victim’s death
Even as two leaders claimed that 28-year-old Rakbar Khan died due to police laxity, the autopsy report states that he succumbed to serious lung injuries caused by thrashing.
According to the post-mortem report released on Sunday, brutal assault on the deceased led to fracture in the ribs that caused water to fill in the lungs. Khan’s wrist was also found to be broken.
The victim was beaten to death in Rajasthan’s Alwar on Saturday after a group of people suspected that he was a cattle smuggler.  However, contrary to the prima facie report, BJP legislator, Gyan Dev Ahuja claimed that the police officers, who had arrived at the spot, took Khan into custody and beat him up in the police station.
“My sources have told me that the police took him to the police station and beat him up again just to show that they are hard on people indulging in cattle smuggling,” he said, adding that there should be a judicial inquiry in the incident.
A Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, who claims to be an eyewitness in the incident, reiterated Ahuja’s claim. Naval Kishore Sharma said on Sunday that the police took the victim to the hospital after three hours of the incident.
“I had informed the police around 12:50 am, following which a team of officers arrived at the spot. But they took Khan to the hospital around 4:00 am. The hospital is barely four kilometres from here,” Sharma said. He further claimed that the police had arrested a “wrong” person in connection with the case.
Meanwhile, Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, who hit the headlines for linking the incident with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s growing popularity, claimed that his statement was misinterpreted by media.
“I again reiterate that my statement is completely misinterpreted by few sections of media. We deeply condemn the incidents of mob lynching & @HMOIndia has issued advisory to state government in 2016 n July 2018 for taking strict action in such cases (sic),” he tweeted.
Hours after the lynching incident, Meghwal had said, “The more popular Modi ji becomes, the more such incidents will happen. In Bihar election it was ‘Award Wapsi’, in Uttar Pradesh elections it was mob lynching. In 2019 elections it will be something else. Prime Minister Modi gave several schemes, their effects can be seen, this (lynching) incident is just one reaction to it.”
 Alwar lynching victim was sole breadwinner
Rakbar Khan, the man who was beaten to death on Friday on suspicion of being a cow smuggler in Rajasthan, was the sole breadwinner of his family. Hailing from Haryana’s Mewat district, Khan had gone to Lalavandi village (in Rajasthan’s Alwar district) with his friend Aslam to buy two cows to expand his milk supply business, his family said. 
Aslam Khan, who returned to Kolgaon village in Haryana’s Mewat district on Saturday morning, said he hid in the fields taking advantage of the dark while a crowd attacked Rakbar.
Rakbar’s family members said he wanted to start his own dairy in the village with 10 more cows. He had taken a loan from his in-laws and friends to buy two cows on Friday. 
His body was brought to the village by the Mewat police after the post-mortem on Saturday. He lived in the village with his wife, seven children and parents. 
Sher Mohammad, sarpanch of Mev Panchayat in Alwar, said that when Union ministers felicitate lynching accused, then vigilantes get encouraged to kill innocents, referring to minister Jayant Sinha’s act in Jharkhand.

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