In a development that will bring the media glare back on the Muslim family that is slowly limping back to normalcy after surviving brutal mob violence, a forensic report has reportedly said that the meat stored in Mohammad Akhlaq's fridge was mutton and not beef. The implication is tragic beyond words.
Muslim blacksmith Akhlaq, who lived in Uttar Pradesh's Bisada village for five generations, was beaten to death by a mob on the mere suspicion that he killed and ate a cow, held sacred by Hindus. A propaganda was spread at the local temple and an enraged mob, allegedly led by a local BJP leader's family members, broke down his door and dragged him and his son Danish out of their homes. They bludgeoned Akhlaq to death and left his son to die.
Soon after the incident, Akhlaq's inconsolable daughter had asked the question: "What if it is proved that the meat was not beef? Will they bring my father back to life?" The family had insisted all along that the meat was not beef.
Police had sent a sample of the meat from Akhlaq's house to a vet for preliminary testing and the report suggested that it was mutton. The police then sent it to a lab in Mathura. The test report confirmed that it was mutton, a top government official told the Times of India.
The police action came in for a lot of criticism, with people arguing that it should not have mattered whether the meat was mutton or beef in the face of the brutal violence the family faced because of a targetted propaganda. Beef was not even mentioned in the police FIR.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had claimed that the September 28 killing of Aqlakh was the result of a conspiracy. The rest of Akhlaq's family members have chosen not to leave the village they've grown up in.
"As you can see, our family members have not shifted anywhere and do not intend to do so either. We are very much in Bishada," Jamil, Aqlakh's elder brother, told PTI. He, however, said the family may decide to move out for 2-4 months, if required.
Gautam Budh Nagar District Magistrate Nagendra Prasad Singh said the family has been provided round-the-clock police protection.
Akhlaq's eldest son Sartaj had moved the family to Delhi fearing for its safety.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a campaign speech in Bihar, sent out a strong message of communal harmony and asked Hindus and Muslims to work together against poverty.
Breaking his silence over the Dadri lynching, he invoked President Pranab Mukherjee's message, saying the countrymen should follow the path he has shown for preserving the core civilisational values of diversity, tolerance and plurality.
"I have said it earlier also. We have to decide whether Hindus should fight Muslims or poverty. Muslims should decide whether to fight Hindus or poverty....The country will benefit only when Hindus and Muslims together fight poverty and defeat it... The country has to stay united," Modi said while addressing the election rally.
Making it clear that he stands against hate politics, he said, "It is the unity, communal harmony, brotherhood and peace that will take the nation forward."
"I want to tell the countrymen, some small time politicians are bent on making irresponsible statements for their political interests.... Such statements should end... I want to urge people not to pay attention to such statements, even if Narendra Modi himself says," the Prime Minister emphasised. (With inputs from PTI)