Where is the country headed “if it is a crime to wear a skull cap or believe in a religion,” asked Jaan Mohammad, the brother of Mohammad Akhlaq who was lynched nearly three years ago by a mob on the suspicion that he had he had stored beef in his home. On the occasion of Eid Ul Fitr, as several wore black arm bands in a silent protest against the lynching of 17-year-old Junaid Khan last week, fear among residents of Dadri refuses to die.
Six of the nineteen accused in the Akhlaq case are back in the village after they were granted bail. “The case is still being heard in the local court. They keep giving one date after another. We have faith in the justice system,” Jaan Mohammad said. But he was concerned about the spate of lynchings. “If it is a crime to wear a skull cap or believe in a religion, where is the country headed?” he asked.
A resident of Bisara village spoke of unconfirmed reports of communal tension in the area. “Just yesterday, someone was telling us that a 15-year-old boy had taken his goat to a plot owned by his family. The goat was eating plants when three boys started asking questions. Before things could turn ugly, the matter reached village elders and they tried to settle it,” he said, adding, “on baseless allegations of beef consumption, people are being killed. This has become an excuse for violence.”