Lucknow: While initial investigation of Uttar Pradesh Police suggest that the rumours of a cow being slaughtered in Dadri’s Bisara village were false, the Bharatiya Janata Party stoked controversy after one of its former MLAs said that those arrested for allegedly killing Moahamad Akhlaq, were actually ‘innocent kids’ and had attacked the family due to ‘excitement’.
The BJP leader’s comments are, however, not the only concern for the family of Akhlaq which is now staring at the long road to justice. While police investigation into the brutal murder has already begun, the direction it has taken is a cause of concern for the family. This is evident by the fact that investigators seemed to be more concerned about whether the meat consumed by Akhlaq’s family was of a cow or of a goat. “Examination of the meat suggests that it was of a goat but the forensic department will give their official report soon,” said a senior police officer adding that the meat was confiscated after the brutal attack.
While talking to dna, the family also showed blood-stained clothes of Akhlaq and his 22-year-old son, Danish, who were both attacked by a mob after it was announced in a temple that the family had slaughtered a cow. The clothes ideally should have been picked up as evidence by the forensics department.
The FIR registered in the murder has booked 10 people under section 323,304, 506,307,427 and 458 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 302 (murder), section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons and 149 (unlawful assembly) were added to the FIR later. Out of the 10 people named in the FIR, six have been arrested, while four remain absconding. The FIR also mentions 4-5 more people who are yet to be identified but fails to mention the priest of the temple from where the announcement to attack Ikhlaq’s family was made.
It is also not clear how exactly the rumours of cow slaughter surfaced. Some people here believe that Akhlaq had thrown a polythene bag filled with meat which was dragged around by dogs. The same was noticed by a group of youngsters who claimed that the meat was of a cow. “We are unclear on how the rumour spread so quickly,” the SHO said, adding that more arrests are likely.
Reacting to the arrests, BJP leader Nawab Singh Nagar, also a former lawmaker from Dadri, said that “if anybody was consuming cow meat then that is wrong”. He even seemed to justify the killing by saying that the ‘excitement of kids’ who attacked the family was a result of a nationwide movement to protect cows. He also claimed that unknown people were smuggling cow meat and police was helping the trade to flourish.
“We have questioned the priest and he was let off. It has come to the fore that 2-3 people entered the temple and made the announcement. There are no signs of mobs being mobilised to attack,” said SHO Subodh Kumar.
However, another officer posted in the area told dna that a couple of weeks before Eid-ul-Azha, a local gathering was organised in which it was discussed that those consuming cow meat must be punished with a death sentence. The same was corroborated by some of the residents of the village which has a dominant population of Rajput and Thakur community.
Garima Sisodia is the sister of two of the accused (aged 25 and 22) who were arrested by the police. One of her brothers works in a telecommunication service provider company in Noida while other is pursing graduation.
“My brothers are innocent. We heard the announcement calling to attack the Muslim family but we didn’t go outside. We just saw crowds going towards their home,” said Garima, adding that her family has always had good relations with Muslims. Many among the Muslim community also told dna that they have never had bad relations with the Rajputs or Thakurs and that it was surprising that the attack had taken place. “We don’t eat non-vegetarian food but we know that Muslims eat mutton and that is not a problem for us,” Garima said.