Dadri: Issue is killing, not beef or meat

Dadri: Issue is killing, not beef or meat

The reported finding of a lab in Mathura that the meat sample that was found in the house of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was lynched last year by a mob in Dadri town of Uttar Pradesh, was beef should have no bearing on the case. A lab in Noida had then found that it was goat meat, but the Mathura lab has now said it was the meat of a “cow or its progeny.” The case in Dadri is about the brutal murder of a man by people driven by rumours and a bigoted idea. Whether the meat he ate was mutton or beef is immaterial to the case. Even if he ate beef, that was no crime. Only killing cows, and not eating beef, is illegal in UP. Even if he committed a crime, nobody had the authority to kill him. But the Hindutva brigade in the UP BJP has grabbed the news about beef with fervour, with silent support from higher-ups.

The UP BJP leaders have demanded the arrest of Akhlaq’s family and release of the “innocent” Hindus who were arrested for the murder. Those making the demands are some of the most rabidly communal elements in the state and the country, like Yogi Adityanath, Sangeet Som and Union Minister Sanjeev Balian, some of whom reportedly had roles in communal eruptions in the past. The leaders and the party are looking for issues which can communally polarise the people before the assembly elections of next year. More of beef, Ayodhya and other similar issues will be brought to the fore in the coming weeks and months. The focus in the Dadri case is deliberately sought to be shifted from murder to beef to dilute the case and to divert attention from the real issue.

The argument is that the murder was right if it was beef that was found. This is chilling and dangerous logic and is typical of the BJP’s position in other unacceptable situations. If Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist, there was nothing wrong in killing her in a fake encounter. Brand a person a terrorist or anti-national if you want to target him or her. This argument subverts the idea of rule of law in a democracy. Its brazenness and cynicism are astounding. What happened in Dadri was a murder most foul, which shamed the nation. It should not be justified with twisted reason and misused and falsified for electoral ends. One party’s meat should not be poison for the nation. The meat sample in any case might do with yet another test. What if it is horse meat!

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