What was recovered from the house of the lynching victim in Dadri was not beef, but meat of “goat progeny,” a preliminary inquiry by the Uttar Pradesh Veterinary Department has found. The “mutton sample” has now been sent to the forensic laboratory in Mathura for ‘final diagnosis,’ says the report.
Mohammad Akhlaq, 52, was beaten to death on September 28 in Bisahra village in Dadri district by a mob infuriated by rumours that he and his family were eating beef. Akhlaq’s son Mohammad Danish, who was also beaten up, is recuperating. “To the best of my knowledge and after a proper physical examination, it appears the meat [about 4-5 kg] is of goat progeny,” said the veterinary officer in his report.
BJP MLA Sangeet Som, who had visited the village after the incident, said he did not have faith in a State-supervised probe and demanded a CBI investigation. Mr. Som, also an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots case of 2013, had earlier offered to fight the case for the accused. During the course of the investigations and even when it filed a charge sheet against the 15 accused last week, the Uttar Pradesh police refrained from using the word ‘beef’ anywhere in its correspondences. Neither did the State, from whom the Ministry of Home Affairs had sought a report.
It said there were allegations that Akhlaq was killed for consuming pratibandhit pashu ka maans [meat of an animal whose slaughter is banned]. The incident had provoked the Ministry of Home Affairs to send a strongly worded letter to all the States asking them to keep a check on incidents of communal violence and work on improving the relationship between communities.
Mr. Som refused to directly comment on the veterinary department’s report. “We do not have any faith in the State-supervised probe which will never be independent and objective. The person who died should get justice, but innocents should not be punished in this process. The Samajwadi Party government is not capable of doing justice in this case,” he said.
“The area was communally charged when the incident took place and we did not want to add to the tension by declaring anything about the confiscated meat,” a senior State government official told The Hindu. “It was decided to stick to the procedure. Instead of jumping the gun, we decided to wait for the forensics report which has made it clear that it was indeed mutton and not beef.”
The report is now part of the charge sheet filed last week against 15 persons, including Vishal Rana and Shivam, son and nephew of local BJP leader Sanjay Rana. Vishal and Shivam allegedly spread the rumour that resulted in the mob attack on Akhlaq’s house.
“This we have been saying all along. The meat in the fridge was mutton sent to us by one of our relatives,” Sartaj, Akhlaq’s elder son who works for the Indian Air Force, told The Hindu . “My father was a victim of mass hysteria created by some people who stood to benefit from the politics over beef. He won’t come back. My only request to the people is that an incident like this should not happen again.”
The charge sheet filed in a Dadri court did not mention the conspiracy angle, despite the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and Akhlaq’s family members repeatedly insisting that the lynching was premeditated. “It will be an understatement to say the Bisahra killing was just an accident, as claimed by some persons in authority. The facts, as reported to the NCM team, indicate strongly that the whole episode was a planned operation, in which a sacred place like a temple was used to exhort people to attack a hapless family,” said the NCM’s report to the Home Ministry.
The ruling Samajwadi Party attacked the BJP and its “beef politics.” “The BJP has made every attempt to politicise and communally polarise the State using the issue of beef. An innocent person was killed as a result,” the party’s spokesperson, Rajendra Chaudhary, said. “The BJP should rein in the fringe elements which are creating law and order problems.”