Residents of Pehlu Khan's village in Haryana's Nuh district are terrified after the 55-year-old dairy farmer was stopped by cow vigilantes in Alwar area of Rajasthan and beaten to death.
Close to his house in Jaisinghpur, 15 km from Nuh town, Pehlu Khan, father of eight children, lies buried in the village graveyard.
Though his brutal murder has become a national issue, his distraught family has still not come to terms with what has hit them.
For nearly 25 years, dairy farmers from Haryana's Nuh (earlier Mewat) district having been going to areas in adjoining Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to buy cows and buffalos. For these farmers, mostly poor, things have changed in the last six days after Pehlu Khan was brutally lynched on a national highway.
Having seen his father being mercilessly beaten to death by cow vigilantes with sticks, rods and belts, Pehlu Khan's son, Irshad Khan is unable to comprehend why all this happened to them.
"We were in the pick-up jeeps when we were stopped by them (cow vigilantes). We had all the relevant papers to show that we were carrying the cows for dairy farming and that we had purchased them from the Jaipur cow fair. No one listened to us. They attacked us mercilessly, tore our documents and targetted my father, me and others," Irshad pointed out, even as some other family members looked on frightened.
"They targetted us for being Muslims. Our father was beaten to death in front of our eyes. We had done nothing wrong. The cows were being brought for dairy farming. Our father wanted to have more milk production during the Ramzan month," Irshad added.
While Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries, others were seriously injured in the unprovoked attack.
Pehlu Khan is survived by his wife and eight children, the youngest ones aged seven and five.
Not many in the village, with a population of less than 5,000, or nearby areas are even thinking of buying any cows in the future for dairy farming.
"No one from the village will risk buying cows now. When the government and police are unable to protect you, there is no hope. Pehlu Khan was killed for no fault," a woman neighbour of the victim, who refused to give her name, told IANS.
Both Rajasthan, where the attack on Pehlu Khan and others took place, and Haryana have Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments and Hindu activist groups are active in these states.
Nuh district in south-west Haryana is Muslim dominated. Of the nearly 11 lakh population in the 2011 Census, nearly 80 per cent population comprised Muslims.
The district headquarter town of Nuh is located around 70 km from New Delhi, and lies on the Delhi-Alwar National Highway 248-A, 45 km ahead of Gurugram.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)