New Delhi: That mob lynchings have become the new normal in India is an indisputable fact. But that justice is elusive in such cases is another reality that the country is dealing with. On March 6, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday dismissed the appeal filed by murdered teenager Junaid Khan’s family against the single-bench judgment that had rejected their plea for a CBI probe in the case.
The family has now been given two weeks’ time to approach the Supreme Court.
According to the Indian Express, the Haryana government had argued that a division bench of the high court cannot hear an appeal against the single-bench judgment in a matter of criminal jurisdiction. The stay on the trial before the Faridabad court will, however, continue.
In June 2017, 15-year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death by his co-passengers in a moving train after an argument over seats turned ugly. The teenager was travelling home with his siblings to celebrate Eid. The brothers were reportedly abused with communal slurs and accused of being beef-eaters. This was a time when gau rakshaks were increasingly in the news even while the government made no moves to stop their illegal policing.
According to a report in Scroll.in, Junaid’s cousin Sanowar Khan said the conflict erupted because a group of around 15 men wanted to take over the seats where the four were sitting. “The fight started because of seats and got worse because they passed communal remarks. They were carrying no meat with them,” he said. The four tried to get off the train at Faridabad, he said, but were unable to because of the crowded train.
According to reports, “The men (perpetrators) allegedly mocked the boys, tugged at their beards and accused them of being beef eaters.”
On December 5, 2017, the murder trial was stayed by a division bench of the high court after Junaid’s father Jalaluddin filed an appeal against an earlier single bench judgment that had dismissed their plea for a CBI probe. Six accused — Naresh Kumar, Ramesh Kumar, Rameshwar Dass, Pardeep Kumar, Chander Parkash and Gaurav Sharma — are facing trial in the case.
In fact, in November 2017, Haryana additional advocate general Naveen Kaushik was forced to resign from the government panel of lawyers after the judge in the murder trial said he was seen assisting the counsel for the main accused in the case.
As reported by the Indian Express, the judge had sought action against Kaushik for “professional misconduct”, saying in case Kaushik appears along with the defence counsel “it will send a wrong signal and will also create a feeling of insecurity amongst the victim party and will adversely affect the aim of the court to conduct free and fair trial”.