The administration deployed security personnel at Bisada on Wednesday after tension flared up again, six months after a Muslim man was lynched over rumours of cow slaughter in the Uttar Pradesh village.
Police said a company of the provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and four officers were deployed after family members of 18 people arrested in connection with the incident threatened to burn the effigy of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and blocked the village road. They are also demanding a CBI inquiry into the incident.
55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq was lynched by a mob and his son critically injured at their residence on September 28, sparking a nationwide debate on intolerance and freedom of choice.
“No effigy was burnt and the police controlled the situation immediately. No force was used and senior government and police officials pacified the agitators. They tried to block the internal road of the village but after a while they were dispersed,” said Rajesh Kumar Singh, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Dadri.
Residents shouted slogans against police and administration demanding release of the 18 youths arrested on charges of murder and assault. Most of the agitators were women from the families of arrested persons.
“The force is deployed only as a precautionary measure. No untoward incident was reported. As most of the agitators were women, we have also deployed a female officer and about a dozen women constables,” said Anurag Singh, deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Dadri.
On Monday, some women from the village locked the government primary school as a mark of protest.
Sources said a section of villagers are boycotting government social schemes including midday meal and ration from public distribution system.
Villagers also threatened to intensify the protest if police do not submit in a local court the report of the forensic test on flesh recovered from the fridge at Ikhlaq’s home.
“Why are police hiding the report? It’s all happening because the state government is biased. If required we will visit Jantar Mantar to mark our protest,” said Ombeer Singh, father of one of the accused.
Government officials said that despite holding several meetings the villagers are divided on their demands.
“We are available for them at any point of time but they must come up with a unified demand. A segment is demanding something else while other is protesting for some other demand. We are waiting for them to get their points clear and then we will see what can be done,” the SDM said.
He said the some of the villagers were planning to hold a mahapanchayat of 144 villages but the proposal was turned down as prohibitory orders are imposed in the district.