The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Tuesday sought a report from the Union Home Ministry on the Dadri incident in which a 50-year-old man was dragged out of his house and lynched amid rumours that he had consumed beef.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi is said to have given a detailed report to the PMO based on the reply given by the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday. The State government’s report, as first reported by The Hindu, did not mention the word beef and said the deceased Akhlaq was lynched over allegations that he had consumed pratibandhit pashu ka maans (meat of animal whose slaughter is banned).
On Tuesday, the Home Ministry shot off another letter to the Uttar Pradesh government, asking for a compliance report on the advisory sent by it on Monday. The MHA asked all the States to take the strictest action against those who attempted to weaken the secular fabric by exploiting religious emotions.
In a statement, the MHA said it was concerned at various incidents with communal overtones across the country, including the “unfortunate” incident at Dadri.
“We are examining the report sent by the Uttar Pradesh government regarding the incident and have also sent a strongly-worded letter seeking a compliance report on the steps taken by it to bring in communal harmony in the region,” said a senior official of the Home Ministry. Of the 10 accused named in the FIR, eight have been arrested.
On the sidelines of a function in Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: “It was an unfortunate incident. I appeal to every citizen to maintain communal harmony, which is everyone’s responsibility.”
The Dadri police also advised the police headquarters in Lucknow to take legal action against Union Minister for Culture and local MP Mahesh Sharma and BJP MLA and Muzaffarnagar riots accused Sangeet Som for violating prohibitory orders in Bishahra village. Another political leader against whom the local police have recommended action is Bahujan Samaj Party general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui.
The village and nearby areas became tense after Akhlaq’s lynching. The matter became communal as the trigger was beef, the victim was a Muslim and all the accused were Hindus.
As the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Tuesday sought a report from the Union Home Ministry on the Dadri incident and the Ministry shot off another letter to the Uttar Pradesh government, asking for a compliance report on the advisory sent by it on Monday, Superintendent of Police (Dadri Rural) Sanjay Singh told The Hindu that the headquarters in Lucknow had asked the local police to send a report on the visit to the village by several political leaders.
“We have the names of the three leaders in our report and have also advised legal action against them for violating Section 144 which was in force in the village…” Mr. Singh said. “Legal action could be taken against Mahesh Sharma, Som and Siddique.”
Both Union Minister for Culture and local MP Mahesh Sharma and BJP MLA and Muzaffarnagar riots accused Sangeet Som had gone to the village temple which was misused to spread the rumour about beef at Mohammad Akhlaq’s house. Mr. Som visited the village on Sunday in a communally charged atmosphere and invoked the Muzaffarnagar riots while talking to a crowd. Without mentioning the riots, he said that if the law acts in favour of a particular community, “we are capable of giving a fitting reply as we did in the past.”
Sources said the police had in their possession a video recording of the speech made by Mr. Som, portions of which were found inflammatory.
In its report, the administration also said that at a time when the village needed to be calmed, Mr. Som made statements which could pose a challenge to law and order.
The police are also trying to find out the volunteers who spread the word about Mr. Som’s arrival and invited people for his speech.
Visiting the village last Friday, Mr. Sharma held a meeting in the compound of the temple and warned the media against “doing politics.”
The village was polarised on communal lines in the aftermath of the lynching. Members of the dominant Hindu community alleged harassment by the police. They have been protesting, and chased out reporters for “one-sided coverage.”