Fast-track court begins trial five years after Akhlaq’s murder
A fast-track court on Thursday started the trial in the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq five years after he was allegedly lynched by a mob over suspicion of storing beef in his house in Dadri’s Bisada village. Akhlaq’s son Danish, then 22, was seriously injured while trying to save his father.
The victim’s family could not appear before the court on Thursday, the first day for the trial, after the charges were framed against the suspects on February 25 this year for the September 28, 2015, incident.
The matter is being heard in the court of Dr Anil Kumar Singh, additional district judge, Fast Track Court – 1.
“The charges were framed against the suspects recently. The defence lawyers moved discharge applications but they were rejected by the court. Now, the trial has begun in this case. The victim’s kin and witnesses are required to testify in the court for evidence,” said Yusuf Saifi, counsel for Akhlaq’s family.
Saifi added that his clients did not receive the court summon for appearance. “They may attend the next hearing on April 14, once they receive summons,” he said. Akhlaq’s daughter Shaishta, son Danish, and wife Ikraman, are among the key witnesses in this case.
Of the 18 suspects, two persons have died and three suspects were juveniles at the time of the incident. The court has framed charges against the 13 adult suspects. The accused who were minors at the time of Akhlaq’s killing will be tried by the Juvenile Justice Board , said Saifi.
The government has given security to Akhlaq’s elder son Sartaj and brother Jaan Mohammad.
Akhlaq was beaten to death and his son severely assaulted on September 29 by a mob in his village which accused him of eating beef. The mob -- which gathered following a public announcement from a nearby temple -- attacked Akhlaq and his son, Danish, even as family members kept screaming that the meat was not ’beef’. Later, a report by a veterinary officer with the Uttar Pradesh government revealed that the meat found in Akhlaq’s house was not beef.
“The suspects have denied the charges. The court will begin the trial now,” said Ram Saran Nagar, counsel for the accused Hariom and Bhim.