NATIONAL

Dadri temple priest detained; Centre seeks report from U.P.

The Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the lynching of a man at Dadri in Greater Noida over rumours that he had consumed beef.

The Centre has also sent an advisory to the State to keep a check on incidents of communal violence. Akhlaq, 50, was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son Danish was critically injured by a 200-strong mob which barged into their house at Dadri on Monday night after rumours that the family had consumed beef.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh police are understood to be investigating the role of ‘2-3 outsiders’ alleged to have incited the mob to lynch Akhlaq, and assault his son as ‘punishment for consuming beef’ on Monday.

A police source said the investigation hinged on ascertaining the identities of the men alleged to be behind an announcement made over the loudspeaker in the midst of a kirtan from the neighbourhood temple decrying the ‘killing of a cow’ and whether the incident was ‘a planned one’ as its execution seemed to suggest.

The temple priest, under detention, has claimed that he did not make the announcement but ‘2-3 men who barged into the temple and ‘forcibly snatched the microphone’ from him did.

The families of three men arrested for their alleged role in Akhlaq’s murder told The Hindu that the men in question ‘seemed to be outsiders.’ “We have the descriptions of the absconding men accused of leading the mob. Several teams are searching for them,” SSP (Gautam Budh Nagar) Kiran S told The Hindu .

Garima Sisodia, whose brothers Gaurav and Saurav, are among the men arrested in the case, said, “My brothers had just returned from work when the announcement was made ... no one in the village knows who made the announcement.”

In the wake of one of her brothers, who is with the Indian Air Force, stating that he had decided to relocate his family from Shaista village, Akhlaq’s daughter said the family was satisfied with the steps taken by the U.P. government but was in favour of a CBI enquiry. This, even as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) kicked up a fresh controversy through its comments on the incident.

“Several people have levelled allegations against Hindus and those working for awakening of Hindus. My view is clear, some people contract diarrhoea if they don’t abuse Hindus. I don’t object to such people. But it is fashionable for them to abuse [Hindus]. There is no substance in it,” VHP general secretary Champat Rai said.

Meanwhile, representatives from several political parties visited Akhlaq’s family on Thursday even as the local administration and police patrolled the village. Amid reports of Muslim residents seeking to relocate for the sake of safety, meetings were held with community leaders assuring them that the law and order situation was under control. District Magistrate N.P. Singh visited the family and said they had been provided both ‘protection and financial assistance.’

(With inputs from

Jatin Anand)



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