Akhlaq and six family members accused of cow slaughter, court orders FIR
Mohammad Akhlaq now stands accused of slaughtering the cow in whose name a mob lynched him 10 months ago in Dadri.
A person who claims to have witnesssed the act of cow slaughter has filed a petition in a trial court, which, on Thursday, 14 July, ordered an FIR against several members of Akhlaq's family.
The petitioner approached the court after the police refused to file an FIR in this case.
Apart from Akhlaq, who has been named in the petition, a total of seven people have been accused - Shamid (Akhlaq's son), Asghari (Akhlaq's mother), Ikraman (his wife), Danish (son), Shaista (daughter), Sona (daughter-in-law of Akhlaq's brother) and Jan Mohammad (brother).
Why did the police refuse to file an FIR?
The police reasoned that the meat allegedly in Akhlaq's refrigerator - which an earlier lab test claimed to be from a goat and a recent one claimed to be from a cow - was never picked from his house.
Senior officers, on the condition of anonymity, told Catch that they couldn't lodge a case of cow slaughter against Akhlaq because they weren't sure about the origin of the meat they had picked up.
"To be honest, the meat was picked up from near a transformer, a few feet away from his house, where we found his bloodied body. That's the place till where Akhlaq had been dragged and beaten up. So we can't be sure about the source of this meat. How can we prove that this was the same meat that he consumed, or came from the calf which he allegedly slaughtered?"
Petition strengthens family's case
But that's not the only reason to doubt the petition, according to the lawyer who has been representing Akhlaq's family.
Soorajmal, who filed this petition, claims that Prem Singh saw Akhlaq's entire family, including his nephew, slaughtering the cow at their home on Eid-ul-Adha, which fell on 25 September 2015.
Akhlaq was murdered on 27 September, after the rumour about him having thrown the remains of the cow on the street spread across the village.
Soorajmal claims that Prem Singh approached the police to inform it about the cow slaughter on 28 September, but was shooed away. Then, because he was scared of police action, he approached and wrote to the police on 8 October.
"What prevented these people from approaching the police between the 25th and the 28th. And why did he (Prem Singh) not talk about it to any villager? According to his petition, Soorajmal claims that Akhlaq slaughtered and consumed a stolen calf, but as a person of this faith, let me tell you that no Muslim will ever sacrifice a stolen animal. According to our laws, an animal that we haven't bought with our hard-earned money is not accepted as a sacrifice," said Yusuf Saifi, who represents Akhlaq's family.
In his petition, Soorajmal claims that when Akhlaq was confronted by people on the night of 25 September, he confessed to having slaughtered the calf and consumed it, and begged for his life. But the crowd went out of control and started beating him and his son Danish.
Saifi said this petition might actually help strengthen the family's case against the accused. "See, they themselves admit in this affidavit that they killed him after getting infuriated. It is an admission of guilt. The case that they are trying to build against Akhlaq will come back to haunt them now," he said.
On the other hand, Akhlaq's daughter Shaista, in her 164 CRPC statement before the magistrate, has claimed that on the night of 25 September, 15-20 people barged into their house.
"They were armed... They barged into our house and immediately began beating Danish and my father... They went upstairs to escape the crowd, but it followed them upstairs, where they broke everything...We were hiding in a room below...They kept shouting that 'you slaughtered a cow' and 'we won't let you live'... They beat up my mother, me and my grandmother..They sprinkled kerosene oil, which was lying around the house...and threatened to kill us if we informed the police," she said.
What the court-ordered FIR will entail
The fact that the court has ordered an FIR into the matter means that the police will begin investigations afresh into the alleged crime of cow slaughter.
The police's investigations will seek to find whether Akhlaq did indeed slaughter the cow, and if so, it remains to be seen under what sections will the persons accused in Soorajmal's petition be booked under.
Edited by Shreyas Sharma
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