Not only was 50 year old, Mohammed Akhlaq, killed by an enraged mob who had just heard an blood-curdling announcement by a Hindutvan priest at a local temple but now the police are attempting to blame him for getting killed.
In Dadri, on the edge of the National Capital Region, 50-year old Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched by a mob on Monday night because it was rumored that his family had been eating beef. His 20-year old son, Danish, is critically injured. Reports quote the police and the district magistrate as saying that a mob gathered after 10 pm following an announcement made at a temple. They broke down the door to the Akhlaqs’ home and battered the father and son with bricks. The police has sent meat from the Akhlaqs’ refrigerator to a forensic laboratory for testing.
A mob gathered outside a family home. It broke down the door and entered illegally. One man was murdered. Another was critically injured. At the very minimum, four separate crimes were committed against the Akhlaqs, one of which is a heinous crime. Why is it then that meat from their refrigerator has been sent to the forensics department for examination?
They have broken no law by having meat in their home. The Uttar Pradesh Cow Protection Act does not criminalise the possession of meat of any type. Even if the meat in the Akhlaq home was beef (which they say, it is not), they would not be in violation of any law. Even if they did have illegal substances in their home, it would not justify the mob attack on them and the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq. So why have the contents of their refrigerator become police evidence?
The police, it would appear, does not want to be seen ignoring the sentiment of the mob. It wants to give the sense that it is mindful of the mob’s cow protection concerns. Going by reporting of the murder in some Hindi newspapers, it is clear that Mohammad Akhlaq is being labelled a cow-killer. There has also been violence following the arrest of members of the mob, suggesting some political mobilisation.
[Edit: Earlier post read that it was a “sermon” that caused the mob to attack and kill Mr. Akhlaq, it was actually an announcement.]