The lynching of a 50-year-old man by a mob which accused his family of consuming beef in a Dadri village has sparked outrage with opposition parties alleging that such incidents are a result of the "climate of hate" propagated under BJP to polarise people.
[caption id="attachment_132814" align="aligncenter" width="700"]
Relatives gather at the home of 50-year-old Muslim farmer Mohammad Ikhlaq after he was killed in Bisara, a village about 45 kilometers southeast of New Delhi on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. (Image: AP)[/caption]
Around 200 persons attacked the residence of Iqlakh on Monday night after rumours spread in the village that a cow has been slaughtered and beef was stored in his house, police said on Wednesday.
The mob allegedly beat Iqlakh to death while his 22-year-old son Danish was critically injured in the attack and is undergoing treatment at a hospital, they said.
An FIR was filed against 10 people for attacking the family, six of whom were arrested, police said.
ALSO READ: J&K Beef Ban: SC To Hear Plea Against HC Orders On October 5
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the victim.
As tension prevailed in the area, PAC and additional police force from Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Hapur have been deployed in Bisrakh area to prevent any communal flare-up, Senior Superintendent of Police of Gautam Budh Nagar, Kiran S, said.
Narrating the ordeal, the victim's relatives claimed that only goat meat had been kept in the house and an announcement made in a local temple that a cow has been slaughtered led to the violence by the mob.
The incident drew sharp condemnation from parties with Congress alleging that such communal incidents are bound to escalate in the run up to the Bihar elections.
"Such politics needs to be condemned. There is a growing ambiance and climate of hate... politics of poison and hatred is bound to grow in the run up to the Bihar elections. Silence from top despite having great oratory is eloquent," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, adding it was shocking that such an incident is happening on the outskirts of Delhi.
ALSO READ: Beef Ban: Jammu And Kashmir Sacks Two Senior Officials
"In last 15 months such incidents have been rising so also the trust deficit," he said.
The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh too attacked the BJP, saying it was using issues like beef ban to spread hate.
Terming the incident as "painful", Union Minister Mahesh Sharma, who is BJP MP from Noida, said it happened due to "misunderstanding" and dismissed allegations that it was an attempt to polarise the village ahead of panchayat polls there.
Jaan Mohammad, a relative of the victim, said, "An announcement was made in a local temple that a cow has been slaughtered here, following which a large number of people attacked our family."
The victim's daughter said the mob stormed the house and assaulted her father and brother. "They harassed me and also beat up my grandmother," she said.
The attackers looked into the fridge for beef, but it was only goat's meet which had been brought for Eid, another woman relative said, claiming that police had later confirmed it.
"Yes there was meat in our fridge, but it was not cow's meet. It was goat's meet. In one bowl was cooked meat and in another bowl it was uncooked," she said.
The family alleged that the attackers also looted jewellery.
Cow slaughter is banned in Uttar Pradesh.
As the rumours spread, villagers blocked a highway in Bisrakh area yesterday demanding death penalty for those involved in the slaughter. When police tried to control the mob, a clash ensued in which one person identified as Rahul Yadav was shot.
District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar N P Singh said there have been protests by villagers demanding action against those involved in the slaughter of a cow.
"We have formed peace committees to restore communal harmony in the area," the DM said.
BJP MP Sharma said he has also organised a meeting between the two groups in the village in view of the tension there.
"It's a painful incident. Both the so called groups belong to same village living there for years together. Nobody should take law into his hands," Sharma said.
Asked about allegations that the incident was an attempt to polarise voters ahead of panchayat elections in that area, he said, "This incident was like action and reaction and not because of any organised plan".
BJP district president Thakur Harish Singh charged, "The police did not react on time. The locals gave samples of meat to the police but they did not take it seriously. Then some people got agitated. We urge people to restore peace."
Former BJP MLA Nawab Singh Nagar said he had met the family and denied there was any "conspiracy".
The Samajwadi Party defended the action of authorities and said prompt steps have been taken to control the situation.
"Let me assure that the state government would not tolerate any divisive force that is acting behind the scenes to trigger such incidents where communal harmony is disturbed," SP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said.
At the same time he attacked the BJP saying "is trying to create divide between various communities and non-issues like beef ban which should be regulated by law are being used to spread hate".
He also objected to statements of local BJP leaders on the issue.
Meanwhile, Principal Secretary (home) Devashish Panda and DGP Jagmohan Yadav said that police have arrested seven persons involved in the killing and are looking for more culprits.