Dadri lynching: Centre pulls up leaders for comments

Villagers take a pledge to maintain peace at a meeting in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday. — PHOTOS: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA  

More than eight days after the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in a village in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, and President Pranab Mukherjee reminding the country of its pluralistic ethos, the government seemed to be making an effort to get some of its political messaging right. Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called an early morning meeting of community leaders and Muslim clerics from around Dadri.

“In fact, the delegation asked for a meeting before the Dadri incident happened, I was travelling then, and we decided late last evening that we schedule this meeting for today,” he told The Hindu.

Top sources in the government confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was behind this sudden activity on the part of not just Mr. Naqvi but also of several senior ministers who spoke out in the last couple of days.

“The incident in Dadri should have been a case of failure of law and order by the U.P. government; instead, because of the >comments of Ministers like Mahesh Sharma and leaders like Sangeet Som and Sakshi Maharaj, it was entirely being blamed on the BJP,” said a top source.

“Mr. Sharma’s comments that the incident was an accident was a real blunder, and this, despite the fact that he had been pulled up by party president Amit Shah when he referred to the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s patriotism ‘despite being a Muslim’,” said a senior office-bearer of the BJP.

The fact that the deceased man’s son was in the Indian Air Force (IAF) has also added to the issue. “This kind of incident with someone who is serving in the armed forces was indigestible,” said a source in the government.

Mr. Naqvi confirmed that MPs like Sakshi Maharaj and Mahant Adityanath were pulled up by the party leaders for incendiary statements. “It has been conveyed to them through proper channel,” he said. Mr. Adityanath, who had threatened to visit the area, has decided not to do so. “The time has come to stop hurting sentiments for votes,” he said.

Key developments:

1 The Chief Minister had announced an increase in the financial assistance for the family from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
2 Vishal, son of Sanjay Rana, a local BJP leader, was arrested in connection with the case. >Read more
3 Family members of Mohammad Akhlaque Saifi, who was lynched over rumours about cow slaughter in this Uttar Pradesh village, had told the police about the possible role of Vishal, son of Sanjay Rana, a local BJP leader, in inciting the mob last Monday, sources say.
4 With two high-profile visits, first by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and later by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the area remained tense. Several hundreds of agitated village women on the streets protested against what they alleged to be “one-sided media coverage”.
5 Armed with stones, several hundred women took to the streets and abused presspersons and politicians. They chased the media outside the village in the morning and barred anyone from entering the village.
6 Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha told presspersons that the Air Force was in touch with the family and was looking to move them to a secure military locality. >Read more
7 Union Minister Mahesh Sharma had described the lynching as an “accident” and said that no “communal colour” should be given to it. >Read more
8 The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a probe into the incident. Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan said the probe would be completed on Wednesday. >Read more
9 In the wake of the killing, Vice-President Hamid Ansari said that progress and development can be achieved if the people of India are united.
10 In Dadri's Bishara village on September 28, a 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched and his son Danish (22) was brutally beaten up as punishment for allegedly eating beef on Eid and 'storing it' for later consumption.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 2:16:23 PM |

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