Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Thursday a mob lynching in Uttar Pradesh over beef consumption rumours was a “pre-planned” conspiracy by “three people from a specific party” who were also behind the deadly Muzaffarnagar riots two years ago.
He said stern action would be taken in the case of Mohammad Ikhlaq’s murder in Greater Noida’s Bisada village even if the government fell in the process.
“When some communal forces saw our government gaining popularity, they came up with a new conspiracy. Communal forces wanted to suppress people of a particular community and make them live in fear,” Mulayam said.
“We will take stern action against the culprits once names are clear and conspiracy is established.”
The murder of 55-year-old Ikhlaq by a mob enraged by rumours that the Muslim family had slaughtered a calf and consumed beef shocked the nation and drew widespread condemnation.
Intense political wrangling has taken centrestage in the village that remains tense despite the arrest of 10 people and heavy police presence in the area.
Several senior BJP leaders have attacked the SP government for allegedly hounding innocent Hindu families in the aftermath of the lynching with legislator Sangeet Som saying some of the accused were wrongly framed.
“Communal forces do not understand until they are crushed. Akhilesh should follow my example. I advise him to crush the communal forces even if the government falls,” Mulayam said.
“I want to urge PM Narendra Modi, who has given the slogan of sabka saath, sabka vikas, to think about the issue seriously.”
He compared the lynching to a build-up of communal tension at the height of the Ram temple movement in 1990, when the SP chief, chief minister at the time, ordered firing on 11 lakh kar sevaks near the controversial site in Ayodhya. The incident left 16 people dead and hundreds injured, triggering violence that lashed several parts of the country, killing nearly 200.
“Ayodhya was a bitter experience for me. I advise Akhilesh to punish the conspirators and not just the rioters,” he said. “Akhilesh is facing the same challenge I faced as UP CM in 1989-90. I hope he takes it seriously and ensures Bisada is not repeated.”
As communal passions ride high in the area over the emotive issue of cow slaughter, several activists have likened the situation to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, where over 60 were killed and thousands displaced. The worst case of communal violence in recent years, the riots were triggered by allegations of molestation that spiraled out of control when the situation took religious overtones.
“After the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, it took the state government a lot of effort to re-establish communal harmony in the state. Under the SP government, UP is on the path to development. We are determined to overcome this situation,” said Mulayam.