Despite assurances by local residents and representatives, the family of Ikhlaq will ‘split’ and shift out of their ancestral village Bisada.
Majority of the members of the family plan to go to a ‘safer’ place promised to them by the UP government and the rest to the Air Force station in Chennai, where Ikhlaq’s son, Sartaaj is posted.
The three brothers of Ikhlaq and their families will shift wherever UP government finds a place for them, while the immediate family of the victim — his son Sartaaj, an IAF officer, his wife, children, mother and the brother Danish will shift to Air Force station in Chennai.
“...Shifting from our ‘motherland’ is going to be very painful, but we are scared to continue living there,” said Afzaal Mohammad, the elder brother of Ikhlaq. “How can we all think of the Air Force station option. That is for Sartaaj, who is an IAF officer. His wife and kids will go to Chennai. We, nearly 20 of us, will shift to the safe place that the UP government finds for us,” Afzaal said.
Afzaal spoke to HT after meeting UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav here who assured them all help if the family wants to move out of Bisada village where Ikhlaq was lynched by a mob on suspicion of slaughtering a cow.
When the security cover being provided to the family was referred to, Afzaal said, “How long would we live under a security cover? They would remove it sooner or later? Then what? These questions stare us in our face. They scare us. What the family witnessed was horrific. The neighbours of Ikhlaq did help. My neighbours gave shelter to my family members, but his didn’t…neighbours could have prevented the lynching. None of the attackers were outsiders…the entire mob comprised of villagers only. So how do we continue to live there?,” said Afzaal.
He also lambasted BJP MLA Sangeet Som who went to the village on Sunday. “On what basis Sangeet Som-ji is calling us cow killers. Did he see Ikhlaq slaying a cow? If he slaughtered a cow, where is the carcass? After slaughtering an animal these things are thrown away. So where are these? Did anyone saw the remains of the animal?,” he asked.
SP MLC Ashu Malik, who flew in the family to Lucknow, said: “It’s good that we got a chance to meet the CM here. Had he visited them there, there would have been more chaos than talk,” said Malik.