A 22-year-old man accused of lynching a Muslim villager was hailed as a “martyr” on Thursday and his body draped in the Tricolour in Bisada village even as a controversial saffron leader declared that the “sacrifice of the young boy” will not go in vain.
Though the state government announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family of Ravin alias Robin – who died on Tuesday in a hospital while in judicial custody – villagers refused to perform the last rites till their demand for Rs one crore relief.
“The villagers consider my son a martyr. He died without trial as he was tortured in jail at the behest of the government,” said Ranveer Sisodiya, father of Ravin.
The lynching of 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq on September 28 last year over suspicion of cow slaughter for consumption had sparked nationwide outrage and BJP-led government at the Centre pilloried by opposition parties allegedly failing to rein in fringe groups curbing freedom of personal choice.
A host of prominent historians, litterateurs, scientists and filmmakers had returned different awards as a mark of protest against what they said was “growing intolerance” in the country.
Ravin was among 18 people arrested for allegedly lynching local Ikhlaq and injuring his son Danish.
On Thursday, the state government also agreed to a CBI probe into the death of Ravin, who is said to have succumbed to respiratory and renal failure, but the villagers refused to relent. They are also demanding a government job for Ravin’s wife.
“We have formed a committee of villagers who will discuss the demands with the administration. We are also trying to resolve the issue,” said Hariom Sisodiya, husband of village pradhan Kaushalya Devi.
Nearly 300 residents of the village continued a protest demonstration in front of Ravin’s house even as the administration deployed a large number of security personnel in the village.
“We are trying to pacify the protesters. The last rites will be done once the villagers agree,” said NP Singh, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar.
Pro-Hindutva leader Sadhvi Prachi, who visited the village on Thursday defying prohibitory orders, accused the state government of favouring the Muslims.
“Hindus shall unite against the government. They are testing our patience,” Prachi said.
The police, however, said that people who wanted to visit the deceased’s house were allowed to enter the village.
“There is no communal tension in the village. People are tensed as a person has died…Also, we are video recording the speeches of all people,” said Dharmendra Singh, senior superintendent of police, Gautam Budh Nagar.