‘Crime’ and mob punishment

Primepost News Desk

Rumours can be deadly. That’s how the gruesome murder of a villager in an Uttar Pradesh village could best be described. By now, the lynching of 58-year-old Mohammed Akhlaq by a frenzied mob over rumours of storing beef in his house was all over the national media. It was discussed at length on TV channels, with opposition political parties describing it as communalization of politics ahead of Bihar polls.

While the UP government has ordered a magisterial inquiry, what could be gathered from the media reports was the ghastly killing of Akhlaq and beating of his son on Monday night were the direct result of a rumour spread by some unidentified people. It was alleged that a message sent through social media and an announcement made from a local temple that a cow (some reports said calf) had been slaughtered and beef was kept in Akhlaq house had provoked villagers to attack his house. After ransacking it and beating his son, an IAF employee, the mob turned its anger on the 58-year-old.

Some had collected the meat for tests and given a few pieces to police to prove their point that it was beef. However, tests had shown that it was not. Some villagers alleged since the police had refused to register a case, some local youths had decided to ‘punish’ the man responsible for the ‘crime.’

Clearly, there is more than what meets the eye. Politics, religion and a holy cow are a potent mix to spark a communal conflagration. Whoever is behind the ghastly murder, their aim is sinister and should be condemned without hesitation and the culprits brought to book. But the local BJP leaders seem to think otherwise. When the nation was shocked, they appear to defend the ‘mob justice.’

For example, former BJP MLA from Dadri, Nawab Singh Nagar, said, when religious sentiments of people are hurt, they get agitated and this sudden anger leads to such incidents.” Another local BJP leader Shrichand Sharma has observed, “This was not a communal riot. The Hindu community worships cows. Whose blood won’t boil if they see cow slaughter?” Union Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma’s take on the killing was, “This should be considered as an accident without giving any communal colour to it.”

These were irresponsible and senseless statements made without ascertaining the facts. What they should have demanded was an impartial probe into the origin of rumour and who spread it and led the mob, not justifying the killing. Such utterances will only strengthen the allegations that BJP has a communal agenda.

The tragedy is, the senseless act of some hooligans has vitiated the communal harmony of the village so much that the Akhlaq family has decided to move out.

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