Other States

Dadri incident a well-planned conspiracy, says report

The lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in neighbouring Gautam Budh Nagar district on September 28 was a “well planned conspiracy”, a ground report by a civil society group has found.

Fifty-year-old Akhlaq was killed and his 20-year-old son, Danish, grievously injured by a mob at their home in Bishara village after rumours were spread that the family had consumed and stored beef in their house.

A group of academics, journalists and students of Janhastakshep, a self-described “campaign against fascist designs”, visited the village in Dadri on October 2 and spoke to locals to find out what led to the incident. The report was released here on Tuesday. Vikas Bajpai, an academic from Jawaharlal Nehru University and one of the report’s authors, said the incident cannot be seen in isolation from the larger trend of “protecting cows and banning beef” that is being seen across the country.

“This incident showed the sophistication of forces behind such communal violence. It’s all about low-intensity, high-impact communal violence that targets better-off Muslims and puts a general sense of fear in the minds of others,” said Dr. Bajpai.

He added that what struck the team the most was the “proliferation of front organisations”. All the people they spoke to in the village said there had been no programmes or events organised by mainstream Hindu nationalist organisations like the RSS. But, organisations like the Rashtravadi Pratap Sena, the Samadhan Sena and the Ram Sena had sprung up there recently, with their posters and banners pasted around the village.

The village, home to 2,500 families, of which 35 to 40 are Muslim, had never experienced any communal tension. The relations between communities were so “normal” that the victim’s family had a Hindu family over for dinner on Eid, said the report.

Brihesh Sisodiya, an office-bearer of Rashtravadi Pratap Sena, told the team that “it was a political outfit which had nothing to do with the BJP” and that it worked on abolishing caste-based reservations, helping villagers with daughters’ weddings and “resolving day-to-day” problems of the public. “It took a long meandering discussion with him before he came to issue of ‘cow slaughter’ which according to him was the real issue,” said the report.

One of the people arrested after the incident, Yashpal Singh, was a member of the Rashtravadi Pratap Sena, the report said. The team also looked into the role of the local temple priest, who made the announcement over the temple’s PA system asking people to gather. Though he was arrested and eventually let off, no one in the village seemed to know the priest, who had moved there from Gujarat two or three months ago. “The pradhan, Sanjay Rana, didn’t even know his name, as did everyone else we spoke to. The priest was last heard going to a doctor on October 1 and has not been back since,” said Dr. Bajpai.

The report added that there were similarities with the communal disturbances in Naya Gaon Akbarpur in Muradabad district in October 2014, where the dispute arose after the local temple deliberately used its loudspeakers at the time Muslims went for namaz.

“It is noteworthy that there too the priest had only recently come to the village,” said the report. “In order to use the faith of religious people in temples and priests, for deepening communal passions, has the Sangh Parivar, as part of a new strategy, started ensuring that they first place a priest of their choice in the temples in the targeted places,” the report asked. The group has demanded action against Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, who is also the MP for Gautam Budh Nagar, for inciting violence against journalists who went to the village.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 9:53:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dadri-incident-a-wellplanned-conspiracy-says-report/article7731343.ece

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