Nearly a year after 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged out of his home and killed by a mob of at least 100 in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over rumours that he had stored beef, his family faces criminal charges. A court on Wednesday ordered an FIR or First Information Report against Akhlaq’s family, based on a petition by an elderly neighbour in their village Bisada.
The petition, backed by those accused of Akhlaq’s murder, alleges that his family had killed a calf and that his brother Jaan Mohammad was seen slitting the throat of the animal in a field. In May, a new forensic report submitted in court said that the meat which was found in a dustbin outside Akhlaq’s home was beef or the meat of “a cow or its progeny”. Just after the lynching, the police had quoted a local doctor as saying that it was not beef but mutton.
The new twists in the Dadri case come at a time political parties are prepping for elections in Uttar Pradesh next year. Last year, the Dadri incident and other attacks linked to cow-killing and beef-eating were held up by opposition parties and activists as examples of rising intolerance and bullying by groups linked to the BJP.Local BJP leader Sanjay Rana son was among many who were accused in the case.
Beef eating is not a crime in Uttar Pradesh but cow slaughter is a non-bailable offence that carries a punishment of up to seven years in jail.