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Relatives of Mohammad Ikhlaq mourn after he was killed by a mob at his residence in Dadri. Photo: Reuters
Relatives of Mohammad Ikhlaq mourn after he was killed by a mob at his residence in Dadri. Photo: Reuters

Political sparring intensifies over Dadri lynching

UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav met the victim's family on Sunday and announced raising the financial assistance to Rs30 lakh from Rs20 lakh

Dadri/Lucknow: Political sparring over the Dadri lynching got shriller on Sunday with controversial Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Sangeet Som, accused of making inflammatory speeches during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, alleging that the Samajwadi Party government was appeasing Muslims and innocent people were being framed. On a day when Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav met in Lucknow the family of 50-year-old Ikhlaq, who was lynched over beef eating rumours, assuring them of justice, Som visited Dadri where he attacked SP government alleging that it was shielding those who had “slaughtered cow". Accusing Akhilesh of shedding “crocodile tears" over the incident, BJP alleged that he was giving “communal" colour to it.

After meeting victim Ikhlaq’s family, Akhilesh announced raising the financial assistance to the family to 30 lakh from 20 lakh along with 5lakh each to his three brothers. Stirring the political cauldron, Som said, “Like they (SP) had taken the accused in Muzaffarnagar riots in a plane, they have taken those who have slaughtered cow in a plane." The UP 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 on the night of 28 September in Bishada village.

Meanwhile, police, which has arrested eight persons, detained a home guard for questioning after the local temple priest alleged that he forced him to make the announcement. Police had 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 and said he may be a BJP supporter.

Som questioned why the state government had allowed All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (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. Are terrorists living here? Police should make arrests only after completing the investigation," the MLA said. However, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav dismissed criticism of the government saying that the SP would “never do politics" on such incidents.

“Those doing politics can level any allegation... but I want to assure that Samajwadis never do politics on such things. Since SP government came to power there are some forces trying to create one or the other atmosphere," he alleged after meeting Ikhlaq’s mother Asgari, brother Mohammed Afzal and daughter Shaista. Assuring all help for the victim’s son Danish, 22, who was injured in the attack, he said, “Best possible treatment will be ensured wherever the family wishes. We will also provide house, complete security and if required job to one family member of the family."

Congress attacked the BJP and its government at the centre over the incident and said all progressive thinking people should stand up against it. “This is a politco-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.

Tension prevailed 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 DM has directed that nobody should be allowed to meet the victim’s family members unless they give permission. “If they do not want to meet any visitor, visitors should not be allowed to go to the their house," he said. 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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