Dadri victim's family recounts horror

Woeful days: They were clueless about what fuelled the attack

Dadri victim's family recounts horror

Three days after celebrating Eid, 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by youths of this western Uttar Pradesh village over rumours of slaughtering a cow and serving its meat in a feast.

It all began on late on September 28 evening when Akhlaq’s family of five had retired for the day. A sudden commotion outside their home in this Hindu-dominated village of 15,000 startled them.

Akhlaq’s daughter Sajida shudders every time she recalls the events. A mob had surrounded their home. When they could not break the gate, some youths scaled the wall and entered the house.

“Some youths rushed into the home and opened the refrigerator. When they found cooked meat, they started shouting that they had found proof,” Akhlaq’s brother Afzal Ahmed told Deccan Herald.

Minutes earlier, some youth “discovered” a cow skin in a ditch near Akhlaq’s home.
“The ears and the skin removed from the face made it clear that it was a cow,” Kishan Pal, who runs a small shop here, told Deccan Herald.

A couple of the youngsters then rushed to the village temple and made an announcement over the public address system that a cow had been slaughtered. The villagers were appealed to gather near Akhlaq’s home. The reaction was quick, and soon a crowd of 300 gathered outside Akhlaq’s home. Within minutes, Akhlaq and his younger son Danish were dragged out by the mob outside and beaten with bricks.

The family was clueless about what fuelled the attack. It was only later that they learnt of the rumours that they had been eating beef since Eid on September 25. “But it was only goat meat. They did not even bother to check what was in the refrigerator,” said Ahmed. The cleric who led Akhlaq’s burial prayers claimed some of the youths in the mob had actually relished the same meat on Eid, and later returned to lynch the man who had fed them.

“First they ate the meat and then photographed it stored in the refrigerator. They then circulated the pictures on social media,” said Maulana Qari Mustafa Dehlvi.

Akhlaq’s youngest brother Jaan Mohammad said he was shocked and could not believe these were the same people with whom he has fond memories. “After all, we have been staying in this village for generations. We are locals and have not come from Saudi Arabia,” he told Deccan Herald.

H K Sharma, a retired government servant who was born here, and whose father once headed the village, said the village had never seen any communal strife for years.

Sanjeev Rana, the current village head, blamed the lynching on misguided youths who got carried away by outsiders. “Outsiders are fomenting trouble here,” he said.

However, the overwhelming feeling among the Hindu community is that Akhlaq was at fault. “Why does he have to sacrifice a cow? How can he not respect our sentiments? After all, it were the Hindus who helped Muslims build a mosque in the village,” said local insurance businessman Dharmendra Rana.

Trouble breaks out in Mainpuri
Scores of people held protests and clashed with the police in Karhal area  following rumour of cow slaughter on Friday, PTI reports from Mainpuri (UP). People in Nagaria village set police jeeps on fire and damaged several other vehicles as they were agitated over allegation of killing of a cow in the village, the police said.
It was alleged that a cow, which was grazing in a field near the village, was whisked away for slaughter and its skin was being removed in a house when some villagers barged in, the police said.
SDM Karhal, Vijay Pratap said it would be known only after post-mortem whether the cow was slaughtered as was being alleged by some persons or the skin of a dead cow was being removed. District Magistrate Chandrapal Singh said that two persons have been arrested and more arrests would follow. The situation was under control and DIG, DM and SP were camping at Karhal with heavy police force. Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav said attempts were being made to vitiate atmosphere in Karhal.

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