The moment the murdered businessman’s brother heard a young man say “Yeh shok-sabha nahi, mahapanchayat hai”, he walked away. The sound of “revenge” drowned out pleas by the 51-year-old victim’s family that they didn’t want communalisation of the murder.
From UP’s Baghpat and Ghaziabad, Haryana’s Gurgaon and Delhi’s Vivek Vihar and Mayur Vihar, people came in large numbers after a WhatsApp forward about the “mahapanchayat against the inhuman act”. Azad Vinod (33), who claimed to be a member of a Hindu rights group Sudarshan Vahini, said, “Muslims must leave homes, factories and shops here… it doesn’t matter what the victim’s family wants, this is the right step.”
At 1.30 pm, from Baghpat, 18 people reached Basai Dara Pur, including Manupal Gujjar (42), who said, “There should be no mercy, a father was killed for protecting his daughter’s honour… The violent must pay.”
Even as inflammatory speeches and heated arguments on how to “throw out the Muslims from Basai” went on, Delhi Police and CRPF personnel kept tight vigil.
The victim’s brother, nephews and cousins pleaded with the group to disperse and not turn this into a communal matter, as did 75-year-old resident J P Tyagi. “We’ve always managed to avert a riot-like situation in Basai. Most of the protesters are outsiders and will leave after ruining the atmosphere here,” said Tyagi, even as a group of youths asked him to go back home.
After leaving the community hall, a few hundred men stationed themselves opposite the victim’s house, even as the family dissuaded them. Soon, they reached the main road and blocked it. Traffic was diverted. “A police officer has asked us to attempt pacifying the crowd. We are going there… my uncle would have never approved of this. The men are saying they are doing this for Hindus, not my uncle. We tried,” said the victim’s nephew.