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Political sparring intensifies over lynching

Asgari Begum, mother of Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi who was lynched by a mob over rumours about cow slaughter in Bishara village in Dadri. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma  

Political sparring over the Dadri lynching got murkier on Sunday with controversial BJP MLA Sangeet Som, accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, attacking the SP government for “shielding cow killers” to appease Muslims.



Violating prohibitory orders in force, Mr. Som visited Dadri and addressed a public meeting asking Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to stop shedding “crocodile tears” while the BJP lashed out at the CM for giving a “communal” colour to the incident.



As charges and counter-charges of polarisation intensified with an eye on the 2017 UP Assembly polls, the Chief Minister met the family of 50-year-old Ikhlaq, who was lynched in Dadri over beef eating rumours, and assured them justice.



After meeting the family in Lucknow, Mr. Yadav announced financial assistance totalling Rs.45 lakh.



The Chief Minister said the Samajwadi Party would “never do politics” on the issue. “I could not go to the village [Dadri] and so I felt it would be appropriate if I meet them here [Lucknow]...The family is in a state of shock. Nothing can make up for their loss. We can share their grief, but cannot erase the scene they witnessed,” he told reporters after meeting Ikhlaq’s mother Asgari, brother Mohammed Afzal and daughter Shaista.



Stirring the political cauldron, Mr. Som said, “As they [SP] took the accused in Muzaffarnagar riots in a plane, they have taken these cow killers in a plane too.”



The U.P. lawmaker’s remarks came even as BJP leader and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the incident should not be given communal colour or politicised.



“It was an unfortunate incident. But it is not proper to give communal colour to it,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Delhi.



Iqlakh was dragged out of his home by a 200-strong mob and beaten to death after a public announcement from the local temple that the family had slaughtered a calf and eaten its meat in Bishada village.



Congress attacks BJP



Congress attacked the BJP and the Narendra Modi government over the incident and said all progressive thinking people should stand up against it.



“This is a politico-ideological murder. There are some people who are trying to change the narrative of the country. They want that the minority should be second grade citizens. The government wants to dictate as to what people should eat, what people should wear, how people should talk. So this is an issue on which all progressive, liberal and right thinking need to stand together,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.



Meanwhile, police, who have arrested eight persons, detained a Home Guard for questioning after the local temple priest alleged that he forced him to make the announcement.



The police on Saturday arrested two persons — Vishal and Shivam. One of them was reported to be the son of a local BJP leader. However, BJP leader Harish Thakur denied that the father of the accused was a BJP office bearer.



Hitting out at the BJP, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said incidents of communal violence increased since the party came to power at the Centre.



“Since the present government came to power, the incidents of communal riots are increasing due to their ideology which is not in consonance with the Constitution that provides a secular society. The lynching of Mohammad Ikhlaq in Dadri over rumour that he ate beef was horrible and deplorable,” he said in a statement.



Owaisi visit



Mr. Som questioned why the U.P. government had allowed AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi to visit the village and spread “communal frenzy.”



“A person like Owaisi was allowed to come here from Hyderabad. Is the Samajwadi Party government colluding with him?... This government is trying to appease a particular community. They want to do politics of appeasement which we will not allow,” the MLA said.



Questioning the arrests in the lynching case, he said, “we don’t want that those guilty of murder should not be tried but the government should stop framing the innocent.”



Meanwhile tension prevailed on Sunday in Bishada village in Dadri which has been thronged by leaders of various parties following the lynching incident. District Magistrate N P Singh has written to the SSP to provide women police force in the village as local women were causing law and order problems. The District Magistrate also directed surveillance of all visitors and steps to ensure that anti-social elements do not gain entry and disturb the peace.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 1:09:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dadri-victims-family-meet-cm-akhilesh-yadav/article7722837.ece

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