The residents of Bisada village in Gautam Budh Nagar, where Mohammed Ikhlaq was lynched amid allegations of cow slaughter in September 2015, held a second panchayat at a temple complex to discuss their strategy for the future on Sunday evening.
The panchayat was held even after a Gautam Budh Nagar court reserved its order for July 6 on a petition filed by the villagers demanding an FIR against Ikhlaq’s family for cow slaughter.
The police charge-sheeted 18 people for the lynching on the night of September 28 in Bisada, nearly 50 km from Delhi. Meanwhile, a forensic report from UP government’s Mathura forensic laboratory stated that the meat found during the incident was of a ‘cow or its progeny’.
“It was cow slaughter and everyone knows who should be behind bars. We will take to streets and launch an agitation till an FIR is lodged in the case. The government has done nothing to give us justice,” said Hari Om, a villager.
However, Sunday’s panchayat drew barely 100-150 villagers while a previous panchayat on June 6 saw over 300 people at the temple complex, including those from the right wing outfits such as the Shiv Sena.
“We will draw up our strategy only after the court delivers its judgement on the FIR petition on July 6. We will abide by any decision given by the court. We want that a case be lodged against the ‘cow slaughterers’. The court is our only hope,” said Sanjay Rana, father of one of the accused.
Those attending the panchayat said that in case an FIR is ordered by the court on July 6, they would raise the demand for withdrawal of all financial and other help provided by the state government to Ikhlaq’s family after the incident.
When questioned about the need for a second panchayat on Sunday even as the court reserved its judgment, Rana said that the second panchayat was already scheduled for June 26 on June 6.
Some villagers were, however, of the view that Sunday’s panchayat was an attempt to weigh the support and keep the Bisada issue alive.
The local sources also said that so far the politicians were kept away from the panchayats in order to make it look like a fight carried on by the villagers.
“We have not allowed the politicians so far and will not allow them further to visit our village which has already got a bad name after the incident,” Rana said.
There were vociferous demands by at the panchayat to chalk out a strategy during the meeting itself. However, the elders calmed them down and told them to wait for the court’s decision.
Officials from police and district administration kept a tight vigil in the village while the panchayat was underway.