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Alwar lynching victim was sole breadwinner, family faces uncertain future

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.
“We left our village around 5pm on Friday and reached Lalavandi village at night. We had gone on Rakbar’s motorcycle. He had asked me to accompany him to Rajasthan as he wanted to buy two cows. They had two calves also,” Khan said.
Khan said they had bought the cows for Rs 60,000 from one of the villagers there and Rakbar was walking the cows while he was riding the motorcycle alongside when they heard the gunshots.
“Some started shouting that we were trying to steal cows. They rushed towards us. I got scared and ran towards the field. Rakbar was holding the cows then,” Khan said. He said he cannot recognise any of the attackers because of the darkness, but can recognise their voices as they were “abusing us very loudly”.
“I remained hidden in the field until Saturday morning. Then I came out and took a lift to reach my village. I had a narrow escape,” he said. He reached Kolgaon around 5am. It’s the last village in Mewat before Rajasthan.
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.
Read | My son is not a cow smuggler, says father of Alwar lynching victim
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.
Villagers said his wife, Asmina Khan, 30, lost consciousness on hearing about the attack. Later, Asmina said the family owned three cows and did its best to care for them. They supplied milk to the dairy owners in the area. “How can I lead a life without my husband? I have four son and three daughters,” she said.
She said she was planning to cook biryani for him on Saturday because it was his favourite food but before she would even start preparations, news of his death reached her.
Rakbar Khan’s brother Akbar, who teaches in a village mosque and lives separately, demanded compensation for Asmina. “The government should provide a job to my sister-in-law on compensatory grounds and should provide financial assistance to the family,” he added.
The family members denied allegations that Rakbar Khan was smuggling cattle. They said he had borrowed Rs 50,000 from his mother-in-law and the rest from friends. “We keep these cows and make some money from their milk. We already have three. Why will Rakbar steal anyone’s cow,” Asmina said. “Had he indulged in illegal transport of cattle, he could have built a nice house and we would not be living in this small shabby house.”
Meanwhile, the victim’s father Sulaiman Mev rejected claims that his son was a cow smuggler. “He left home on Friday morning saying he was going to take goats for grazing. This morning, I was told that he has been killed,” the father said.
“My son is not a ‘gau taskar’ (cow smuggler). I don’t believe in what the people and police are saying. We are a poor family and my son used to work as a labourer in a stone mine,” said Sulaiman, father of seven children. He demanded strict action against all the accused.
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.