The brutal killing of 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri following rumours that his family was storing and consuming beef has rocked the nation, but top BJP leaders in the Centre as well as in UP, a state that is heading towards Assembly polls, are maintaining silence on the issue.
This silence is unexpected because BJP MPs including Yogi Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj and Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti often speak against ‘cow slaughter’. The party has also formed a “Gauvansh Prakostha’ (Cow cell) at the state and district levels. But office bearers of the cell too are keeping mum on the issue while party leaders in Dadri are speaking loudly and accusing the deceased of eating beef.
Party sources said the organisation has taken such a stand apprehending that if they will speak on the incident, Opposition parties will get an opportunity to accuse the BJP on taking a communal line on the matter and promoting Rashriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) agenda of ‘prevention of cow slaughter’.
Their apprehension originates from the Muzaffarnagar incident of 2013 when riots had occurred and spread in other districts after then BJP MLAs including Hukum Singh, Kunwar Bhartendra Singh (both now MPs), Suresh Rana and Sangeet Singh Som and another party leader Sanjeev Balyan (now Union minister) had addressed a Jat Mahapanchayat after killing of two youths by Muslims in Kawal village.
A party leader said the BJP was in a fix on the Dadri issue. “If it justifies the lynching of the Muslim man, that could instigate communal tension like Muzaffaranagar, and if party speaks against lynching, that may go against RSS agenda of cow protection,” he said.
The BJP MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath, runs a campaign for cow protection in the state and held a ‘Goraksha Rashtra Raksha Sammelan) at Gorakhnath Temple as recently as September 28. However, he too has so far not issued any statement on the issue. Speaking at that event, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur has said every Hindu should think on religious lines for cow protection.
When contacted for his remarks, the Yogi blamed the Samajwadi Party government but said the incident should not be linked to any political party. “That incident shows that all illegal works, which hurt sentiments of Hindus, are being done in the state and the SP government is giving shelter to illegal cow trafficking and cow slaughter. Such incidents frequently occur in Ghaziabad, Noida, Aligarh, but the administration remains inactive there,” he said.
Asked about the BJP’s silence on the issue, the Yogi said the incident should not be linked with any political party (BJP) but it should be seen as reaction of the general public. “It was the public that took the law into their hands because SP government failed to curb illegal acts in the state,” he alleged.
The BJP state unit is not speaking on the matter, but its battery of spokespersons and state office-bearers issues daily statements against the Akhilesh Yadav government. “The party wants to remain neutral on the issue. It does not want to draw allegations from the Opposition of working on communal lines or fulfilling
the agenda of RSS,” said a BJP leader.
Only Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) Mahesh Sharma gave his remarks on the incident that too because he is the MP from Gautam Buddha Nagar. Sharma described the lynching of a 50-year-old man by a mob as an “accident” and that no “communal colour” should be given
On the silence of state leaders on the issue, party state spokesperson Chandra Mohan called the incident a law and order one, a state subject. “The BJP is nowhere involved in the incident. But if the party will speak at any forum on this issue, opposition parties will unnecessarily target BJP and administration will do victimisation of party workers in local,” he said.
Local BJP leaders like former Dadri MLA Nawab Singh Nagar and other gave statements on the incident boldly and justified the lynching. Party sources said the BJP leaders who are speaking in the matter are locals and they had reached the place of incident and they gave their reactions.
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