Massive police and paramilitary deployment helped maintain an uneasy calm at Dadri’s Bishara village on Wednesday two days after a 50-year-old man was lynched and his son brutally beaten up as punishment for allegedly eating beef on Eid and ‘storing it’ for later consumption.
Six men have been arrested so far and search is on for at least four more, according to the FIR registered by the police.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and also announced a compensation of Rs.10 lakh for the family of the victim, Mohammad Akhlaq, whose son Danish (22), is critical after the attack.
“Humne koi chori nahin ki…bakre ka ghosht hi to tha (We did not steal anything…it was just mutton, after all),” said an inconsolable Asgari Begum, Akhlaq’s mother, before adding, “Pehle maar daala phir use maiyyat se bhi mehroom kar diya (first they killed him, then they prevented his last rites too).”
She was referring to a riot-like situation which gripped the sleepy village, a little over 40 km from the bustling sub-city of Noida, near Delhi, on Tuesday when their relatives were barred from participating in the funeral procession. Limping over to a pile of blood-stained clothes, she narrated what happened on Monday night.
“There was an announcement from the Shiv Mandir saying we had slaughtered a cow and were eating beef since Eid,” she said.
“Look what they did to my son and grandson after that,” she said holding up a bloodied shirt.
Local residents told that a kirtan was underway when the announcement was made, which according to the police, resulted in the “massive mobilisation” in a short time.
Asgari Begum said, “Dozens of men broke into the house. It was a little after the isha ki namaaz, they broke all the lights and did not bother to check what kind of meat was in the fridge. They hit us with bricks and stones after breaking down the door. ”
Vandana, whose brother is among those who have been arrested so far, said she was “sad” at how the episode unfolded. “But, I'm sure no one will now dare to eat beef in this village ever again,” she said. Garima Sisodia said her brothers, two of whom are among the accused, have been framed.
Political parties react
Terming the incident as “painful”, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma, who is the BJP MP from Noida, said it happened due to a “misunderstanding” and dismissed allegations that it was an attempt to polarise the village ahead of the panchayat polls.
The Congress alleged that such communal incidents were bound to escalate in the run-up to the Bihar elections. “Such politics need to be condemned. There is a growing ambience and climate of hate... politics of poison and hatred is bound to grow in the run-up to the Bihar elections,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh too attacked the BJP, saying it was using issues like beef ban to spread hate.
(With inputs from PTI)