Family members of those accused of beating Mohammad Akhlaq to death have threatened to hold a mahapanchayat if an FIR against Akhlaq’s family, on charges of cow slaughter, is not registered by Sunday evening.
Akhlaq, 50, was killed by a mob at Bisara village in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri district following rumours of cow slaughter and beef consumption in September last year.
Sanjay Rana, a local BJP leader and father of one of the 18 accused, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Saturday over the issue. “I had met Rajnath Singh along with eight other residents of the village. We raised the issue of registering an FIR against Akhlaq’s family on charges of cow slaughter. He has assured us that he will speak to the state government and justice will be served. We have decided that if police does not register an FIR by Sunday evening, we will call a panchayat in the village Monday, where our next course of action will be decided. We will also announce the date of the next mahapanchayat on the issue.”
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He added, “We have requested Pankaj Singh, son of Rajnath Singh and general secretary of the BJP in UP, to guide us”.
A report by a forensic lab in Mathura had stated that the sample sent to the lab belonged to “cow or its progeny”. After the report became public, some Bisara residents had approached the local police station in Jharcha and filed a complaint against Akhlaq’s family for “killing a calf (bull)”. The police have maintained that they are investigating the allegations made in the complaint.
On Saturday afternoon, some leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also visited Bisara to meet, according to them, “Hindu victim families falsely framed by the state government”.
Surendra Jain, international joint general secretary of the VHP, said, “Their children are innocent, they have not committed the crimes that they have been charged with. They should be released.” He added, “Akhlaq was declared a martyr and his family was provided with money and flats. The families have demanded that these be taken back and given to soldiers who have died at the country’s border.”