Twenty-eight-year-old Azmat Khan was one of the Muslim dairy farmers who were accused of smuggling cows and then dragged, punched, kicked and hit with rods and sticks by a mob of cow vigilantes on a highway in Rajasthan’s Alwar district in April 2017. Azmat survived, but his associate, 55-year-old Pehlu Khan, died of his injuries in a hospital. A year later, the trauma to Azmat’s spinal cord—and mind—remains unhealed.
Fear looms over Azmat: his attackers, who had been identified in the police complaint as members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, remain at large. Moreover, he and other survivors have been charged with cow smuggling, even though they have receipts showing they bought the cows from the Jaipur Municipal Corporation for their farms in Haryana’s Nuh district.
But more evident than fear and trauma is Azmat’s resolve to get justice, with no desire to seek revenge. The court of law, and not violence, is the answer, he said.
StoriesAsia is a collective of independent journalists from South and Southeast Asia that produces artfully told stories of people whose concerns remain under- or misrepresented in mainstream media. The stories seek to put a human face to news.