NEW DELHI: The sinister game for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections has begun over the dead body of Mohammad Akhlaq, dragged out his house and beaten to death, by a mob following a rumour that he was consuming beef. Both the Bharatiya Janata party and the Samajwadi party are back in business with this incident, through an alleged forensic report ---over 8 months after the murder---claiming that the meat recovered from the spot and sent for examination was of cow and not goat as an initial report had clearly stated.

On September 28 night a mob, instigated by rumours, attacked Akhlaq’s house and killed him. The state authorities---yes, the Samajwadi party is in government in UP---reportedly sent a meat sample for forensic examination.

About 10 days later, on October 9 to be precise the mainstream newspapers reported: “The ‘forensic test’ has proven that the meat that the Dadri lynch mob found in Mohammed Akhlaq's fridge last week, which they claimed was the proof they needed to lynch him, was mutton, not beef. Mohammad Akhlaq's family had insisted all along that there was no beef in the house.

On the night of September 28, police collected a sample of the meat from Akhlaq's house in Bisada and sent it to a vet for preliminary testing. These tests suggested it was mutton, but the police sent the sample to another lab in Mathura for a conclusive test. That report also confirmed it was mutton, a top government official said.”

There was no mention of beef in the FIR the police filed either.” (Times of India)

Again from The Hindu: “ What was recovered from the house of the lynching victim in Dadri was not beef, but meat of “goat progeny,” a preliminary inquiry by the Uttar Pradesh Veterinary Department has found. The “mutton sample” has now been sent to the forensic laboratory in Mathura for ‘final diagnosis,’ says the report.

Mohammad Akhlaq, 52, was beaten to death on September 28 in Bisahra village in Dadri district by a mob infuriated by rumours that he and his family were eating beef. Akhlaq’s son Mohammad Danish, who was also beaten up, is recuperating. “To the best of my knowledge and after a proper physical examination, it appears the meat [about 4-5 kg] is of goat progeny,” said the veterinary officer in his report.”

The Hindu went on to quote a “senior state government official” saying “It was decided to stick to the procedure. Instead of jumping the gun, we decided to wait for the forensics report which has made it clear that it was indeed mutton and not beef.”

At that time BJP MLA Sangeet Som, also an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots case of 2013, had made sure a door remained open with, “We do not have any faith in the State-supervised probe which will never be independent and objective. The person who died should get justice, but innocents should not be punished in this process. The Samajwadi Party government is not capable of doing justice in this case.”

Little more was heard about the case, with the family visibly in shock and trauma. Eight months later Som and others are back, waving copies of a report that has suddenly emerged eight months later, and insisting that the poor family be booked for cow slaughter. And that action be taken against those who have been struggling to live after their bread earners brutal murder.

And what is the reaction of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was as weak and ineffectual during the Muzaffarnagar violence just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that swept the BJP into Parliament? He has questioned the authenticity of the report by a forensic laboratory in Mathura. He has weakly claimed that “nothing objectionable” was found in Akhlaqs house. And has asked to no one in particular, ““Where was the sample sent, who received it? There was nothing objectionable in his house. Every eye is on this matter. Everyone wants that the victim’s family should get justice as a murder has taken place.”

And then dismissed the entire incident with, ““After this incident, there was debate in the world regarding what to eat and speak. I think one should not get involved in such matters.”

As the Chief Minister of UP surely it was for Yadav to answer his own questions . And come out forcefully with a rebuttal based on his own government’s investigation in the first place. Instead his statement is basically seeking to address the Muslim voters by the weak assurance that the SP is speaking for justice, in the hope that no one will remind him that he is in power and in place to do justice, not just speak about it. And has reduced his intervention to a personal comment, “there was nothing objectionable in the house” without citing the evidence that had been given to the media last year by the police certifying that the meat was not beef.

The questions that this Chief Minister and his father Mulayam Singh need to answer:

  1. Where was the meat sample procured from?
  2. How is that the CM has no idea?
  3. Has he asked for evidence and information from his administration?
  4. Where are the first forensic reports?
  5. How did this second report emerge, on what sample, and on what basis?
  6. What has his government done to ensure justice for the victim and for his family?
  7. What does he mean when he says “one should get involved in such matters.”

Also why did Yadav not make it clear in more forceful terms that the issue is no longer about eating beef or not, but about a lynching. And ensure that the narrative is now not overtaken by the communal propaganda being unleashed around the Dadri incident, seeking to shift it from murder by a mob to eating beef. BJP MP Adityanath and BJP state president Keshav Prasad Maurya, have demanded that a case of cow slaughter be registered against Akhlaq’s family.

Adityanath who is tipped to become a Minister in the central government soon, further said, “They are quiet on this report. The innocent Hindus arrested in the matter should be immediately released and a case of cow slaughter should be registered against Akhlaq’s family.” His ‘they are innocent’ reference was to those booked for the murder, with the argument clearly being that now in light of the “new report” the lynching was justified.

Akhlaq’s family has now become the new target in the run up to the elections with the communal pot being stoked now by too many cooks. While the SP is looking at the incident to reach out to the Muslims in its old role as the ‘saviour’ of the minorities, Adityanath spoke for the BJP and its core vote when he said, “I also demand that the state government withdraw all facilities given to his family.”

Dadri has set a new record for communal politics in India,and after an eight month lapse because of nation and world wide condemnation at the time, has reemerged through this report as the linchpin for both the BJP and the SP to exploit for their respective religion based votebanks.