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#DadriLynching was not communal: Rajnath & Akhilesh's doublespeak. And the case so far

Suhas Munshi | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 11:41 IST
QUICK PILL

The claim

  • Rajnath Singh tells Parliament #DadriLynching wasn\'t communal or about beef
  • His proof: UP government didn\'t mention either in its report to him

The truth

  • Rana & Shivam, two of the prime accused, say they killed Akhlaq in the name of Hinduism
  • Shaista, the murdered Akhlaq\'s daughter, who is an eye witness, tells the magistrate the mob suspected the family had beef, that\'s why they attacked

More in the story

  • What happened to the meat samples from Akhlaq\'s fridge that were sent for forensic tests?
  • Why hasn\'t UP police even filed a chargesheet in the case so far?
  • Why have six of the accused named by Shaista not been arrested?
  • Is the \"secular\" SP government trying to undermine the case?

The murder of Mohammed Akhlaq - or the #DadriLynching as it came to be called - shocked the country and triggered a massive blowback.

But the action taken on the case exposes the hypocrisy and doublespeak of both the BJP and the Akhilesh Yadav-led government in Uttar Pradesh.

Here's the status of the case and the gap between what's being said and the reality on ground:

Right noise. And hollow action

Over the last week, speaking in Parliament on Constitution Day, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh vowed allegiance to constitutional values and promised to make all sections of the country feel secure.

But their positions on the Akhlaq case make their statements ring hollow.

Modi has already been critiqued severely for his silence on the Dadri lynching.

2 months on, UP's forensic lab is yet to find out if the meat in Akhlaq's fridge was indeed beef

But Rajnath went a step further. Addressing Parliament recently, when the issue of intolerance was being debated, he claimed Mohammed Akhlaq's murder had no communal or beef angle to it.

This is a rather astonishing statement to make, given the information available on the case.

Rajnath said he was quoting from a report shared with him by the Uttar Pradesh government, which is run by the Samajwadi Party, purported to be a champion of Muslims.

"The word beef was not even mentioned and even premeditation was difficult to establish," he told Parliament.

Power in your hands, Home Minister?

Catch has been unable to get hold of this UP government report. However, as home minister, it should have been easy for Rajnath to ascertain the following basic facts for himself:

1) Ten people were arrested by the UP police after Akhlaq was lynched. Two of them -- Vishal Rana, son of Sanjay Rana, the local BJP leader in Dadri, and Shivam, Rana's nephew -- have made statements admitting they were provoked to murder Akhlaq and his son in the name of Hinduism.

Read- No remorse: villagers in Bishara say 'beef-eating' Akhlaq deserved to die

This is an extract from one of their statements in the police's case diaries: "Some people told us that Akhlaq, a Muslim, had slaughtered a cow, which is considered our mother in our religion. These people provoked us so we went into Akhlaq's house, beat Danish (Akhlaq's son) till he was unconscious and then beat up Akhlaq and dragged him till the transformer outside."

dadri diary embed 1
dadri diary embed 2

Rana and Shivam have also claimed that they can identify the people who provoked them by their faces, though they did not know their names.

These confessional statements were recorded in a police remand report, dated 14 October, and submitted to the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Surajpur.

Vishal is also accused of being the person who announced from a temple loudspeaker in Bisara village that Akhlaq had slaughtered a calf and stored the beef in his bridge.

While confessions before the police are not admissible as evidence in court, these statements clearly point to both a communal angle to the murder, as well as premeditation.

2) It was also disingenuous of Rajnath to tell Parliament that there was no beef or communal angle to the murder because Shaista Saifi, Akhlaq's daughter - an eye witness who survived the mob -- has made a legally admissible 164 statement before the magistrate that the mob had lynched her father because they suspected the family had beef in their fridge.

The shadow games of the 'secular' SP

However, it is not just the BJP. The dereliction around the case also shows chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party in very poor light.

Akhilesh had himself stood for photographs with the family and announced a large monetary compensation. However, that's where his interest in the case, or in justice, seems to have petered out.

Also read: Dadri lynching couldn't have happened without the police's knowledge'

    Consider this:

    • The police response to the case is the direct responsibility of the Akhilesh government. Yet, though Rana and Shivam have agreed to identify the people who provoked them, the UP police has made no further arrests, nor put any suspects through an identification parade.
    • It has been more than two months since Akhlaq was murdered, but the state's forensic laboratory has still not been able to find whether the samples of meat taken from Akhlaq's refrigerator were from a cow or a goat.
    • According to sources, the police aren't even close to filing a chargesheet in the case yet. The time limit to file a chargesheet will run out in another three weeks.
    • Shaista has named six other people and held them responsible for her father's murder. She made this statement before a magistrate. While a mere accusation does not equal conviction, it is sufficient ground for the police to arrest those named, pending further investigation.
    • However, the UP police has refused to arrest them. "We have gone through their statements and are trying to verify the identity of others. But we cannot make arrests till more evidence comes to light. Those who are accused often have a tendency of misleading the police," a senior police official investigating the case told Catch.
    Six people named by Akhlaq's daughter Shaista are now on the run. Who tipped them off?
    • According to sources, one of these six accused is believed to have close links to a senior BJP leader. He is believed to have first declared the meat inside Akhlaq's house to have come from a cow, and then conspired in Akhlaq's murder.
    • As this story goes live online, according to police sources, the six people Shaista named are now on the run. The six names are believed to have been leaked, though it isn't clear from whose end, thus giving them time to evade arrest.
    • Senior officials investigating the case privately admit they have no clue about the whereabouts of these six. "It's not just these six. Most of the young people from Bisara have fled the village," said the investigating officer, requesting anonymity. "We're questioning everyone known to them."

    After the murder, the motives?

    It is hard to decipher why a police force under the SP government is dragging its feet on nailing such a tragic and high-profile incident.

    dadri update embed 3

    Given the facts listed in this story, it is also hard to understand why a report filed by the UP government to the home minister would make no mention of beef, a communal angle, or any premeditation as factors that underpinned the lynching.

    Under the circumstances, it might be useful to remember that several of the accused are connected with BJP leaders.

    Whatever the real explanations are, one thing is clear: despite the high-octave noise around the murder of Akhlaq, his family cannot expect justice any time soon.

    Neither can the Constitution hope to be upheld.

    More in Catch:

    Bloody record: Is 'secular' SP more communal than the BJP?

    Small steps, big change: 4 simple ways to prevent severe floods

    The Gay Beards: you've never seen facial hair this creative. Guaranteed.

    Of revolts & rumours: Did Advani desert the Margdarshak to become President in 2017?

    First published: 4 December 2015, 8:51 IST
     
    Suhas Munshi @suhasmunshi

    He hasn't been to journalism school, as evident by his refusal to end articles with 'ENDS' or 'EOM'. Principal correspondent at Catch, Suhas studied engineering and wrote code for a living before moving to writing mystery-shrouded-pall-of-gloom crime stories. On being accepted as an intern at Livemint in 2010, he etched PRESS onto his scooter. Some more bylines followed in Hindustan Times, Times of India and Mail Today.

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