Activists of right-wing Hindu outfit Hindu Raksha Dal (HRD) visited Uttar Pradesh’s Bisada village on Sunday despite prohibitory orders and met the families of the men accused of killing a villager over rumours that he slaughtered a cow, prompting authorities to crack the whip.
Officials ordered an FIR against Hindu Rakshak Dal for violating Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people, that has been imposed in Dadri.
“I met the family of the accused who were framed by police in the case. Hindus will not tolerate attack on our mother cow. The cases of cow slaughter will be dealt with in the same way like the Hindus did in Bisada. Police crackdown on innocent villagers will further worsen the situation in the village,” said Bhoopendra Chaudhary, president of HRD.
On September 28, a mob attacked 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq’s house accusing the family of butchering a calf. It lynched Ikhlaq and left his younger son Danish critically injured. Danish, who has undergone two surgeries, is still not out of danger.
HRD activists, who reached Bisada at 1pm, held a public meeting with Hindu villagers and raised slogans against Muslims in the presence of heavy police deployment and officials of the district administration. They also distributed pamphlets in the village over banning of cow slaughter in the country.
Chaudhary said his outfit will continue to campaign against cow slaughter. “We will campaign in nearby villages against cow slaughter. I have seen pictures of the calf that was slaughtered in the village. I warn Muslims not to indulge in acts that hurt the sentiments of the Hindus,” he said.
In January 2014, HRD activists had attacked the Aam Aadmi Party office in Kaushambi in Ghaziabad with bricks and stones to protest its leader Prashant Bhushan’s remarks on Kashmir.
When asked how HRD activists were allowed to hold meetings despite the prohibitory orders, district magistrate NP Singh said, “The Hindu Raksha Dal people were chased out of the village. I saw the entire videography of the village taken today (Sunday) by the district administration.”
Singh also issued orders restricting visitors to Ikhlaq’s family acting on a letter written by Sartaj, Ikhlaq’s elder son. Singh, however, said there is no blanket ban on the visit to Ikhlaq’s family.
“We have not completely banned visitors as then we might be accused of hiding something. Anybody visiting the bereaved family will have to seek Sartaj’s permission as urged by him. Even if a political leader wants to visit the family, not more than five people will be allowed in that case,” he said.
“The decision to restrict the entry of visitors has been taken for two reasons. One, Sartaj does not want unwanted visitors. Two, we are concerned about the safety of the family and cannot allow anybody to go to the victim’s house,” he added.
BJP MLA from Sardhana Sangeet Som, accused of making inflammatory speeches ahead of the deadly Muzaffarnagar riots two years ago, also met the families of those accused of the attack on Ikhlaq’s family.
Singh said even Som was stopped 200 metre away from the spot. “When he said he had come to condole the death of one Kishan Master, he was allowed to visit that family,” said the district magistrate.
“Som also did not say anything inflammatory or illegal. There were some 15-20 villagers who met him. He told them that legal recourse would be taken in case any person was falsely implicated,” he added.
Singh said police pickets have been set up at both ends of the lane leading to Ikhlaq’s house and it has also been barricaded adding action will be taken against those who violate the administration’s order under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
Sartaj had appealed to the media and other visitors to leave his family alone on Friday.
On Sunday, police identified two brothers who lived next door to the victim as prime suspects in the case, saying the young men forced the priest of the local temple to announce on the night of the crime that Ikhlaq had slaughtered a calf.
“During the last six days, police have arrested eight accused named in the FIR and questioned more than 30 people about the murder case,” said superintendent of police (rural), Sanjay Singh.
“The co-accused too have pointed towards the involvement of the two brothers (Saurav and Gaurav Sisodia).”
According to reports, among those arrested was the son of a BJP politician, though the party said Sanjay Rana was only a well-wisher.