A Cow Bill? Go Tell It
To This Child
26 August, 2003
Jhajjar: This week they passionately debated
the rights of the cow in Parliament. Less than two hours away, in Dulina
village, where five Dalits were beaten to death and set ablaze on the
false charge of killing a cow, all the 32 men accused are out on bail.
Some of them bragged to The Sunday Express that they wouldnt mind
doing it again.
As for the families
of those killed, the compensation is of little comfort. Each family
got Rs 5 lakh from the Haryana government, Rs 1 lakh from Sonia Gandhi,
Rs 3 lakh from the Uttar Pradesh government. But ask Ramvati, mother
of Virender, one of those killed. I want my son back,
she says, I am ready to give the money back, just give me
justice. Next month, the court is expected to frame charges
but for Ramvati, its not going to be easy.
On October 15 last
year, her son Virender; their friends Kailash, Dayachand, Tota Ram and
Raju were on their way to Karnal carrying hides and the carcass of a
cow in a truck. They stopped in front of the police station in Dulina
where they met some villagers coming back from a Dussehra fair.
Soon word spread
that a cow had been slaughtered and was being skinned.
A mob gathered and right under the nose of the police watching, the
five men were beaten to death and then set on fire.
The police, instead
of acting against the lynching, registered a case against the victims
under the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act! And even sent the cow carcass
for a post mortem. Once the results came in that the cow had been dead
24 hrs before the lynching, the case was withdrawn and two cases of
murder and attempted murder were registered against 32 villagers.
the incident took place with police watching, the initial FIR, filed
by Rajinder Singh, the SHO at Jhajjar police station, did not name anybody.
Over the next month, 32 residents were identified and their names filed.
One of them was Rajbir Kumar, sarpanch of neighbouring Sura village.
When The Sunday Express met him, he said he was willing to give
money for the Cow Bill. Although he denied being involved
in the lynching, he said: If somebody does this to a cow
we will do the same thing. Five from his family are co-accused.
All of them were
out on bail by January despite being booked under stringent sections:
murder, rioting with deadly weapon, mischief by fire and explosive substances
(435) and under the SCs and STs Act. District Attorney S K Chopra said
the court granted bail because none of the 32 figure in the initial
FIR. There were no specifics like who hit who. We have 43
witnesses, the case is based on cirumstantial evidence,
he said. Thats why there is no case, says A P Kadyan, defence
The delay in the
case occurred, both sides said, after the judge hearing the case took
voluntary retirement and the case got transferred to the court of SDM
Ram, relative of victim Dayachand, said, We dont go
to the court, nobody listens to us and we are scared of going there.
The families want the case to be transferred to another court.
The accused walk
free. They killed the cow while it was roaming around,
said Sri Bhagwan, another accused. Both the victims families and
the accused blame police: one side for not saving lives, the other for
not saving an imaginary cow. This was never part of the debate on the