Leaders from various political parties have met the family of Mohammad Ikhlaq, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Bisada village who was lynched by a mob over rumours he had consumed beef last week, and have voiced their opinion on the incident.
From Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Mahesh Sharma to opposition leaders like Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Sangeet Som, and Nalin Kohli - all have had something or the other to say.
While statements made by some of these leaders have courted immediate controversy, some of the parties indulged in mudslinging accusing each other of giving the killing communal and political colours.
However, it is the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has not yet spoken publicly about the incident, that has riled the opposition as well as the common man alike.
“The Prime Minister tweeted to condole the death of the son of a prominent singer. That is okay. But he has no time to condole Ikhlaq’s death, who was brutally murdered. I demand a thorough probe into the matter. I support all the demands of the victim’s family,” said All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi.
Hindustan Times conducted an online poll asking its readers whether the PM should make a statement on the lynching incident.
In the HT poll, out of the 2,441 readers who responded till 12:30pm on Monday, 60.79% respondents said that PM Modi should say something on the killing of Ikhlaq and 37.69% think otherwise.
Only 1.52% of the respondents said they don’t know or cannot comment on the issue.
As tension continues to simmer in Bisada, activists of right-wing Hindu outfit Hindu Raksha Dal (HRD) visited the village on Sunday despite prohibitory orders and met the families of the men accused of killing Ikhlaq, 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.
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.
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.
According to reports, among those arrested was the son of a BJP politician, though the party said Sanjay Rana was only a well-wisher.