Hours after the verdict, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the state government will appeal against the verdict delivered by the court of an additional district judge.
Pehlu Khan’s family said that they will challenge the verdict in a higher court and expressed hope they will find justice there.
“I am not happy with court decision and will appeal in the higher court,” said Pehlu’s son Irshad Khan.
Prosecution lawyer Qasim Khan said there will be in appeal in the higher court. “We are hopeful of getting justice,” he said.
Apart from the six acquitted by the Alwar court, three others — all under 18 — are still facing a separate inquiry by a juvenile justice board.
A court acquitted the six men, giving them benefit of the doubt, according to a lawyer.
Haryana resident Pehlu Khan (55), his two sons and a few others were transporting cows when they were allegedly stopped and thrashed by a mob near Behror in Alwar district on April 1, 2017.
Later, a video clip surfaced on social media purportedly showing a group of men beating them.
Khan died in hospital on April 3, triggering outrage over the murder and focusing attention on attacks by cow vigilantes.
“The court gave benefit of the doubt to all six accused and acquitted them of lynching charges. We have not received the court order copy and will wait for it to study it and appeal in the higher court,” additional public prosecutor Yogendra Khatana told reporters in Alwar.
The accused let off by the court are Vipin Yadav, Ravindra Kumar, Kaluram, Dayanand, Yogesh Kumar and Bheem Rathi.
The court of Additional District Judge Sarita Swami completed the trial proceedings on August 7 and reserved judgment for Wednesday.
Later, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajeeva Swaroop told PTI that the state government has decided to file an appeal before the high court.
“Our State Government has enacted law against mob lynching in first week of August 2019. We are committed to ensuring justice for family of late Sh Pehlu Khan. State Government will file appeal against order of ADJ,” Ashok Gehlot tweeted.
Our State Government has enacted law against mob lynching in first week of August 2019. We are committed to ensurin… https://t.co/ouVy6jsxkh
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) 1565798481000
Defence lawyer Hukum Chand Sharma called the Alwar court decision “historic” and a “slap on the face” of people who he said were doing politics over it.
The then BJP government in Rajasthan under Vasundhara Raje had come under flak over the killing, with the incident escalating the debate over Muslims facing attacks from cow vigilantes.
Leader of opposition in Rajasthan assembly Gulab Chand Kataria said the previous BJP government had taken whatever action it could when the Pehlu Khan case took place.
But some people projected the incident in a manner that suggested that the BJP government was in favour of the killing, Kataria, who was the state’s home minister then, said.
He said the BJP had acted correctly. “But the matter was given a colour and raised in the entire country.”
Rajasthan assembly passed a bill
, introduced by the current Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state, to tackle mob lynching.
In April 2017, along with the FIR against the people who allegedly lynched Pehlu Khan, the police had also registered a case related to cattle smuggling against his two sons and a truck operator.
Gehlot government faced criticism
recently after a chargesheet was filed in that case.
The police then approached the court, saying it wanted to reinvestigate the cattle smuggling charge, a plea that the court accepted.
In Video:Pehlu Khan lynching: Rajasthan Court acquits all six accused