Relatives of suspects who lynched a Muslim man in Dadri pressed for an FIR on Wednesday against his family for cow slaughter after a forensic report said the meat found in his home was beef.
The 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq was murdered by a mob on the suspicion of slaughtering a cow for a family feast in Dadri’s Bisada village last September. The incident triggered national outrage over religious intolerance and beef politics.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav questioned the authenticity of the forensic report that says the meat was that of a “cow or its progeny”. “Where was the sample found? If you had read the newspapers (when the incident happened), then nothing objectionable had been found in the house. The victim’s family must get justice.”
But the BJP’s firebrand Gorakhpur parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath ratcheted up the issue. “The innocent Hindus arrested in the matter should be immediately released and a case of cow slaughter registered against Ikhlaq’s family,” he demanded.
Bisada villagers too alleged that the state government was biased towards the Muslim family.
“Now that the meat is confirmed to be beef, lawful action should be taken against his family. We request police to register an FIR of cow slaughter against the family. If they fail, we will hold a panchayat,” said Omveer Sisodia, father of an accused.
The villagers threatened to call a mahapanchayat of 144 villages of Rajputs if police did not register a case against his family.
The forensic report on Tuesday vindicated the villagers’ claim that Ikhlaq had killed a cow and eaten its flesh. Eating beef is not illegal in Uttar Pradesh, where Dadri is located, though the slaughter of cows is banned.
The mob had allegedly recovered a bowl of meat from his fridge, which they claimed to be beef.
Police have named 19 people in an FIR based on the statement of Ikhlaq’s daughter Shaista. All of them were arrested but one was let off after it was confirmed that he was not in the village when the incident occurred.
“The government is taking action only against us. After forensic report, police must take action against the family of Ikhlaq. Justice should be done equally,” said Sanjay Rana, father of another accused.
The villagers said a cow carcass was found in the village on the night of September 28 last year. They alleged that it was the same animal that Ikhlaq had killed. But samples from the carcass were not set for tests, police said.
A day after the brutal killing, the state veterinary department sent 4kg of red meat seized from Ikhlaq’s home to a Mathura laboratory for forensic tests.
It has been alleged that the mob, which gathered following a public announcement from a nearby temple, attacked Ikhlaq even as family members kept screaming that the meat was not beef but mutton.
The family has all along been saying that it was goat meat and its claim was initially corroborated by a preliminary report of a government veterinarian that said the flesh “looks like mutton”.
Gautam Budh Nagar police said they have not received any complaint from the villagers.
“The matter is sub judice and the court is hearing cases of murder and assault against 18 people. Let the families of the accused approach police, we will see what investigation can be done,” deputy superintendent of police Anurag Singh said.
(With inputs from Lucknow and Gorakhpur)