At least five people accused of murdering a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he butchered a cow have confessed to the crime with their testimonies recorded on video, senior police officials told HT on Monday, amid nationwide outrage over the incident.
The five are among 11 people police have named as accused in the killing of Bisada village resident Mohammad Ikhlaq by a 200-strong mob last week, an episode that has raised fears of sectarian trouble in UP ahead of this month’s panchayat polls.
The victim’s younger son, Danish, was left critically injured in the attack.
“We are corroborating their statements. The investigation is on,” said Kiran Sivakumar, the SSP of the Gautam Budh Nagar district where the village lies.
“We are waiting to record the statement of Ikhlaq’s son who is a very important witness. He is still recovering in hospital.”
The men were also named by Ikhlaq’s wife, who too witnessed the attack.
Police sources told HT the accused said in their statement that “they were incensed when they heard about the cow slaughter”.
They then gathered other people from the village and rushed to Ikhlaq’s house brandishing “bricks and rods”, the sources said.
At least two of the accused have said they saw dogs nibbling on some meat near a drain and assumed it was beef. Police, however, said they found no signs of cow slaughter in Bisada village. “We did not find any bone or flesh. There was no trace of any slaughter,” an official said and then added, “The accused forcibly opened the refrigerator at Ikhlaq’s home, took out some meat lying there and then showed it to the mob.” The victim’s family has maintained all along that it was goat meat.