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Hurt to see tricolour on coffin of Akhlaq’s killer, says family

Security forces keeping vigil at the Bishahra village near Dadri in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. — Photo: R.V. Moorthy  

The family members of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was lynched in Bisharha village of Dadri last year for allegedly storing and consuming beef at his home, said it was hurtful to see one of the accused treated like a martyr after his death from respiratory failure.

Ravi Sisodia, one of the 18 accused arrested on charges of killing Akhlaq, died of renal and respiratory failure in the LNJP hospital on Tuesday. After his death, his family members and villagers of Bishahra draped his coffin in the national flag and sat on protest outside Mohammad Akhlaq’s house, demanding Rs. 1 crore compensation to his family. The protesters demanded the immediate release of the other 17 accused. The local administration has rejected the demand.

‘Sad moment’

Talking to The Hindu, Danish, the younger son of Akhlaq, who was also brutally assaulted by the mob which killed his father, said, “It was a very sad moment for all of us to see that one of those who took part in killing my father, was being treated as a martyr. All the more sad was that his coffin was draped in the national flag... It is especially sad for us because we have a family member, my elder brother, who works in the Indian Air Force."

"My heart broke seeing that picture. It is like hailing and celebrating the same madness which killed my father. At an extremely personal level it was like reliving those dreadful moments when my family was attacked and when I, too, was attacked by the village mob with iron rods in their hands,” said Danish. He has undergone two major brain surgeries as his skull and portions of his brain were damaged in the attack.

Danish said that it was sad that Ravi Sisodia died of Chikungunya but "it was equally a sad moment for us to see that his death was projected as martyrdom for the country."

Meanwhile, Sisodia was cremated on Friday evening after the local administration vowed to pay his family Rs.. 20 lakh and a private job to his wife. BJP leaders, including Sangeet Som, an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots case, and local BJP MP Mahesh Sharma, mediated between the protesters and the local administration.

"Ravi has been cremated this evening. There is also a proposal for CBI inquiry in Ravi's death if the family formally requests,” Mr Som told the media.