Dadri is yet to bury the ghost of its violent past, but Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Sanjeev Balyan, has reportedly made communally-charged comments that have the potential to once again trigger tension in the village where last year a Muslim man was dragged out of his home and lynched by an enraged mob on the suspicion that he and his family slaughtered and consumed a cow.
"Akhlaq couldn't have eaten the full cow all alone. The meat would have gone to 20 families there. It's time to track them down and ensure justice is done to the other side," Balyan was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.
The Dadri issue is certainly going to be raked up by politicians such as Balyan who have their eye on the Uttar Pradesh elections, just around the corner.
Akhlaq couldn't have eaten the full cow all alone. The meat would have gone to 20 families there. It's time to track them down and ensure justice is done to the other side.
"The killing is not justified even if it was beef, but it is important that justice is delivered. If beef was found, then the slaughter has happened there. Who did it? Who apart from Akhlaq's family had it in their houses?" the minister told ET.
The Bisada village remained tense after its residents met the Gautam Budh Nagar SSP yesterday to press their demand for registration of an FIR against Mohammad Akhlaq's family for alleged cow slaughter. Sanjay Rana, the father of Vishal Rana, an accused in the lynching of Akhlaq, said he would call a 'mahapanchayat' (grand council), a move seen as a deliberate attempt to disturb the peace of the village reeling under the gruesome violence last September.
(Family members of Mohammad Akhlaq mourn during his funeral at their village in Bisada on September 29, 2015 in Greater Noida, India. Akhlaq was beaten to death and his son critically injured by a mob over an allegation of storing and consuming beef at home, late night on Monday, in UPs Dadri. Police and PAC were immediately deployed in the village to maintain law and order. Six persons were arrested in connection with the killing of man. Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Akhlaq and his family have remained in the village for five generations. Yet on that fateful night of September 28, the mob scaled the walls of their house and dragged him out and bludgeoned him to death. The SSP, Dharmendra Yadav, said a case will be registered only if the charge that the meat found in Akhlaq's home was beef was found to be true.
A report issued by the forensic laboratory of the Uttar Pradesh University of Veterinary Services (Animal Husbandry) has claimed that the meat found in Akhlaq's home belonged to "cow or its progeny".
Section 144 has now been imposed in Dadri, according to several media reports, and security has been increased after Hindu organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Rashtrawadi Pratap Sena, Goraksha Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini said they will participate in the panchayat, the Hindu reported.
(Danish, injured son of Mohmammad Akhlaq at the High Dependency Unit (HDU) of Kailash hospital on October 8, 2015 in Noida, India. Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
"The villagers have decided to hold a maha panchayat tomorrow as police have failed to register an FIR based on our complaint. Residents of Satha Chaurasi village will also attend it," Rana said.
VHP leader Surindera Jain had yesterday said that the accused had been falsely implicated. NDTV reported that border towns of Rohtak and Sonepat have been also placed under Section 144.
(With inputs from PTI)