Afzal Ahmad, brother of 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq who was lynched over rumours that he ate beef, is shocked that boys who used to dine with them could kill his brother and feels local politicians are behind the incident.
“I suspect the hand of some local politician who instigated young boys and filled venom into their heads. How can they kill someone who lived with them like a family member? That these boys killed my brother will take time to sink in,” said the 57-year-old Afzal.
“We used to cook mutton and chicken during celebrations for these young boys. There was bonhomie and the neighbouring Hindu Rajput families would come home with their children to share meals, especially mutton on Eid. They used to compliment my wife and me for the food every time they came home. They used to shower praises ‘chachi’ or ‘chacha’ aap jaisa mutton hum nahi bana paate,” rued Afzal.
The Indian Railways employee lives next to his brother’s house in Bisada village in Greater Noida.
On Monday, when his brother was killed, he narrowly escaped being attacked as he and his wife were away visiting a relative. Late that night, his niece called to inform him about the brutal attack on his family members.
Recounting the attack where the youths beat up even his 82-year-old mother, a teary-eyed Afzal said, “Ikhlaq was almost living like a Hindu among Rajput families until Monday when he was killed for practising his religion by a mob.”
Of the four siblings, Afzal and Ikhlaq lived in Bisada, the other two lived in Dadri and Loni in Ghaziabad. Ikhlaq was the only who took up his father’s profession of being a blacksmith.
“Ikhlaq used to make farming equipment for the Hindu families. He also worked part-time as electrician for Hindu families. He was just a call away for them, be it day or night. Also during marriages, he used to work for them for free,” said Afzal.