It's ironic that nearly three months after Muslim blacksmith Mohammed Akhlaq was dragged from his home in Uttar Pradesh's Bisada village and bludgeoned to death by a lynch mob over mere suspicion that he had slaughtered and consumed a cow, the police chargesheet against 15 people, including a minor, has no mention of beef in it.
The reason for this, according to the police, is that they are still awaiting a forensic report on the type of meat that was found in Akhlaq's fridge on the day of the violence. 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 recently said.
The propaganda against Akhlaq, who lived in Bisada village for five generations, 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 beat 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.
The 52-year-old victim's daughter Shaishta has been made the prime witness in the case.
"Charge sheet has been filed against 15 persons. Additional charge sheet will be filed against few more persons whose names figured in the statement of Akhlaq's daughter, Shaishta, recorded before the court. Two persons were arrested today while two others are absconding," PTI quoted Deputy Superintendent of Police Anurag Singh as saying.
"Forensic report is yet to be received on whether the meat sample taken from the fridge of the deceased's house was that of goat or cow. In the charge sheet it is stated that the accused persons had attacked the house of Ikhlaq after announcement from the temple about cow slaughtering. The accused had found pieces of meat stored in fridge and they had claimed it to be that of beef," Singh said.
One of the accused is reported to be a minor. Police said his age certificate is being verified and he will be produced before the juvenile court accordingly.
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Four persons were arrested earlier this week based on Danish's statement, reported NDTV. Seven people have already been arrested in the case.
The 250-page chargesheet names men allegedly linked to the local BJP leader Sanjay Rana -- one of them is his son Vishal, according to the report. Two of Vishal's cousins are also among the accused.
After the incident, Akhlaq family moved to Delhi where Danish's older brother Sartaj works as a technician with the Indian Air Force.
(With inputs from PTI)
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