Defying the prohibitory orders in place in Dadri, a group of BJP and Shiv Sena politicians Monday held maha panchayat at a local temple demanding action against the family of Mohammed Akhlaq, who was lynched to death in September last year over accusations that his family was eating beef in their home.
The panchayat gave 20 days ultimatum to the administration to take action against Akhlaq’s family. “If there is no action, even I can’t guarantee that I can control this public anger,” said local BJP leader Sanjay Rana, whose son, Vishal, has been arrested for Akhlaq’s murder.
Monday’s meeting comes just six days after a report from a forensic lab in Mathura said that the meat sample taken from Akhlaq’s house belonged to a “cow or its progeny”. Following this, a section of Bisara residents had approached police, urging them to register an FIR against Akhlaq’s family for killing a cow and consuming beef.
The police Monday said that the panchayat would not be allowed because it could incite a new round of communal tension in Dadri, just 50 km from Delhi.
But locals and Rana said they would not be silenced and convened at the same temple where a priest had used the loudspeaker to rouse the village into action, after which a mob headed for Akhlaq’s home.
A former village head, Bagh Singh also said they will be forced to take action if the administration does not pay heed to their demands and register a case of cow slaughter against Akhlaq’s family.
Apart from residents of Bisara, including families of 18 accused in the case, a group of local Shiv Sena members also attended the meeting.
Mahesh Kumar Ahuja, who claimed to be the head of Shiv Sena’s Western Uttar Pradesh wing, demanded a CBI inquiry into the case. He claimed that Akhlaq had been unwell, which could have been a reason for his death.
Later on, the police said that it allowed the panchayat as a way of keeping the peace.
Meanwhile, Akhlaq’s brother, Jaan Mohammad appealed to all to maintain communal harmony. “We just want truth to be revealed, and we want peace,” Jaan was quoted as saying by NDTV.
UP goes for polls early next year, and the Dadri lynching exemplifies divisive politics, said the opponents of the BJP, which in turn says Akhlaq’s family is being given undue protection by the state government despite evidence of its wrongdoing.
Earlier, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has questioned the credibility of the new report submitted by the police in the court and has stressed that what is important is punishing a mob that killed a man, irrespective of its motive.
Bisada, home to about 400 Hindu and 25 Muslim families, had a long tradition of unity till the killing of Akhlaq.