As union home minister Rajnath Singh walked away from the stage after addressing a gathering of around 10,000 people in Bisada on Wednesday, some villagers created an uproar. The families of the accused in the lynching case claimed that the BJP leaders had visited their village two days before the rally and asked them to participate as Rajnath would announce the release of the 14 accused.
The family of 22-year-old Ravin, who was accused in Mohammad Ikhlaq’s lynching, along with the family of 14 other accused, took to the stage to protest. They raised slogans against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that no one in Bisada will vote for the party.
The family of the accused in the lynching case were expecting Rajnath to speak about the lynching of Ikhlaq on the night of September 29, 2015, for allegedly consuming beef. Ravin had died in a Delhi hospital on October 4 under judicial custody due to multiple organ failures. His death triggered a massive three-day protest with villagers draping his body in tricolour and demanding compensation of ₹1 crore.
The protest had ended only after BJP MLA Sangeet Som and union minister and local MP Mahesh Sharma visited the village and offered a total compensation of ₹25 lakh (including the exgratia by the state government), computer training, a job for his wife and promised a thorough investigation into his death.
An uproar was witnessed when Rajnath rushed from the stage to board his car and the family members of the accused broke the barricades and jumped on the stage. They tried to speak to the union home minister, but the security detained them.
Urmila Devi, whose two sons are in judicial custody over Ikhlaq’s lynching, had come up with a letter to seek the intervention of union home minister in the matter. “I was waiting for Rajnath Singh to arrive at 1pm . He was late to the venue by five hours and at the end, he left all of us hopeless. My two sons, Gaurav and Saurav, are in jail and I have no one at home to take care of me,” Urmila said.
She said that after Ikhlaq’s lynching, the BJP leaders had assured that the 14 youths who are in jail would be released. “The BJP is least bothered about the majority community in the area. Our hopes have died now. BJP leaders only talk about Hindutva to use it as a plank for polls,” Urmila said.
She even managed to reach the dias and said, “Hum BJP ko vote nahi karenge (we will not vote for BJP).” At this point, Rajnath had reached his car. The public was in a frenzy and hurried to leave the spot. A technician also switched off the loudspeaker.
Amid sobs and tears, 21-year-old Pooja, who was married to Ravin, said, “I tried my best to speak to him (Rajnath), but I was pushed. I have lost my husband and have no means of livelihood. Families whose members are lodged in jails are also in the same situation.”