Dadri Under Curfew, Tensions Spike
LUCKNOW: Dadri is in the grip of deep tension with Hindu front organisations ---Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Rashtrawadi Pratap Sena, Goraksha Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini —demanding the arrest of the relatives of Mohammad Akhlaq who was beaten to death by a brutal mob for allegedly consuming beef. Citing a report that claimed that the meat was not mutton but beef these organisations with local villagers are holding a mahapanchayat to insist a case be filed against the traumatised family.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has questioned the forensic report as dubious. The area has been placed under ‘high alert’ after the call for the mahapanchayat at the local Bisahada village where the mobilisation is taking place. Section 144 has been clamped on the area.
VHP leader Surinder Jain visited the village on Sunday and claimed that the 17 accused have been falsely implicated. The demand for their release is also being raised by the Hindu front organisations that have justified the lynching with the forensic report released over eight months after Akhlaq was dragged out of his house and lynched by a mob. His son was beaten brutally and was hospitalised.
At the time a forensic report had stated categorically that the meat was mutton and now beef. Now over 8 months later a new report has emerged, with the CM himself suspicious about the source, that says the meat was “cow or its progeny” and this is being used, according to sources here, to whip up communal tension in Dadri in Greater Noida just on Delhi’s doorstep.
The accused are to be brought before a fast track court, according to an IANS report, where charges will be fixed. The state government has placed Dadri and adjoining villages on high alert, but has not taken steps till date to counter the rumours with a strong political assertion. Like Muzaffarnagar before the Lok Sabha 2014 polls, Dadri is also being allowed despite the prior warning, to move towards the communal polarisation of communities. There are only 25 Muslim families in the village with reports suggesting that some might have fled their homes. However, this could not be confirmed although Akhlaq’s family did leave their residence in the wake of the tragedy and were persuaded by the state government to return with the promise of full security.
The family is again being targeted by the front organisations whose leaders have been moving freely in the area and making speeches demanding action against Akhaqs relatives. MP Somnath Som who was accused in the Muzaffarnagar violence has visited the area as well, insisting that action be taken against the family and the accused arrested for the murder be released. As in Muzaffarnagar the Samajwadi party government is looking the other way, with little effort being made to stop the panchayat and diffusing tensions.
In Muzaffarnagar despite warnings from local party leaders, the state government had not moved to stop the panchayats that reportedly helped mobilise mobs for the attack on Muslim households. Hundreds of Muslims fled for their lives with violence having an impact on adjoining districts of western UP that remained tense for several months after.
Sources said that efforts to turn Dadri into another Muzaffarnagar were on, but the state government this time was wary. It remains to be seen whether the measures it has imposed are strict enough to ward off violence, but currently---unlike Muzaffarnagar---the local authorities seem to be in better control.