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Pehlu Khan’s Life Mattered


Image source: D. Mukherjee Video clip that convicted two juveniles in Pehlu Khan lynching was not put on record in acquittal of six, 14 March 2020, The Indian Express.

Recently, we have seen many people talk about ‘cow protectionism’. Under the guise of religious sanctity of the cow, many poor people (particularly Dalits and Muslims) have been lynched. They were killed because they worked in one way or the other with cows, such as buying and selling cows for diary farming, beef production and consumption, and other appropriate disposal and use of carcasses (e.g. leather industry). Pehlu Khan was one such person.

Read the full story of his death here, and how Pehlu himself was made the accused in his own murder, while the six men he had identified walked away scot free. In a sting operation, the murderers bragged about their work. One month after his death, his family spoke about their loss and pain. In 2019, the police were forced to ‘reinvestigate’ the case, but it was only in 2020 that the two minors accused were remanded to a ‘special home’.

Our  questions

  • Is there a rationale behind cow protectionism? Is it about saving the sacred cow or a symptom of the deeply embedded structural violence in India?
  • What lies behind the disturbing trend of lynching in relation to cow protectionism?
  • What are the consequences of legalising cow protection and the state’s duplicity in encourage the associated lynchings:
    • for the family?
    • for the community?
    • for the economy?
    • for the state?
    • for politicians?
    • for political parties?
    • for India’s secular fabric?

Find out the answers

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