On Monday night, after an announcement at a local temple that her family was consuming beef, 18-year-old Sajida had no inkling about how the next few hours would unfold.
Minutes later, a mob surrounded and then ransacked her house before allegedly beating her 50-year-old father Mohammad Akhlaq to death. Her brother Danish, 22, is battling for life at a government hospital in Noida.
Outrage After Mob Lynches Man For Allegedly Consuming Beef (Click here for video)
Wearing a white salwar-kameez stained with blood, Sajida pleads with a relative over the phone to save her brother: “I have lost my father. I cannot lose my brother. Please do everything possible to keep him alive.”
Standing in her father’s room on the first floor, Sajida points to pieces of bricks near a broken bed, blood stains on the floor and on a loincloth which belonged to her father. A refrigerator in the next room has been broken and turned upside down, while a shattered mirror stands in one corner.
“They dragged my brother and father outside the room and used bricks which they found under his bed to beat them. My father was taken outside the house and beaten to death. My brother was dragged to the courtyard downstairs and they used bricks to hit him on the head and chest, leaving him unconscious. They also tried to molest me and hit my grandmother on her face. They threatened to kill me if I said a word to the police,” Sajida says.
It was only when the police reached the village around 10.30 pm that the attackers ran away.
Sajda said the announcement allegedly made by the temple was not even finished when the mob reached her house. “The incident took place around between 10-10.30 pm Monday. A few minutes before they reached the house, there was a temple announcement alleging we had killed a cow. We did not know what the announcement was about. Before the announcement was finished, they reached our house and broke down the doors. They shouted abuses at us and alleged that we had beef in the house,” she says.
The family, which has been living in Bisara for generations, never felt any communal tension in the past, she says.
“Every time there was a feast in this house, Hindu residents of the village would attend such functions. Even on Bakr-Id, we had guests. But suddenly they started doubting us. There was some mutton in the fridge which was taken away yesterday. They thought it was beef. The police have taken it for examination. If the results prove that it was not beef, will they bring back my dead father?” Sajda asks.
A rumour leads to a lynching
Around Sep 16: A calf goes missing from Bisara village, according to residents
Sep 28, noon: Rumours about remains of the calf being found near a field close to Mohammad Akhlaq’s house in Bisara spreads.
Rumour alleges Akhlaq was carrying beef in a polythene bag when dogs started chasing him. He threw the bag in a open field. Residents found remains of the calf in the bag
Sep 28, at about 9.30 pm: A group of 10 people reach a local temple, make an announcement relating to these rumours
Sep 28, 10-10.30 pm: A mob reaches Akhlaq’s house, beats him and his 22-year-old son, Danish. Ransacks the house.
Sep 28, 10.30-10.45 pm: Police reach Akhlaq’s house. Akhlaq found dead outside. Danish found unconscious inside. He is admitted to a government hospital in Noida, is critical
Sep 29 : In the wee hours of Tuesday, six Bisara residents are arrested in connection with the case
Sep 29, at about 9.30 am: Residents of villages in Dadri assemble near the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) office, hold demonstrations. Two police cars damaged while a bike is set ablaze. Protesters are lathi-charged. Heavy police deployment at the protest site.
Sep 29, at about 10 am: A 20-year-old welder who works at NTPC hit by a bullet, injuring his lower hip. Even as his family alleges a policeman fired the gun, police deny charges, say they are investigating the matter
Sep 29, at about 1 pm: Senior police officers held a meeting with residents, urge them to maintain peace
Sep 29, at about 5.30 pm: Last rites of Akhlaq performed in Bisara amid heavy police deployment
Sep 29, evening: A large number of policemen deployed at the site