Updated: October 7, 2016 12:52:43 pm
It’s been a year since 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob at Dadri’s Bisara village in western UP following rumours of beef consumption, but the case continues to crawl in a fast track court, which is yet to frame charges against the accused.
Of the 18 hearings held since the chargesheet was filed on December 23, 2015, only five saw any movement. The rest comprised eight adjournments on request by the defence, two days on which the defence counsel sought additional documents, two days on which the judge at the Surajpur court went on leave and one holiday.
So far, Uttar Pradesh police have arrested 18 people for their alleged role in the lynching.
Police, meanwhile, registered an FIR against Akhlaq and six others of his family on charges of cow slaughter and animal cruelty following a meat examination report from the Mathura Forensic Science Laboratory.
The Indian Express accessed court records to track the progress in the case — this is the timeline that emerged:
December 23, 2015: Police file chargesheet in magisterial court, Surajpur.
February 9, 2016: Court takes cognizance of chargesheet, commits it to sessions court since charges include murder.
April 1: Case transferred from sessions court to Fast Track Court (FTC), which fixes
Year later, Dadri case crawls in fast track court: Of 18 hearings, only 5 saw action on April 7 for arguments on framing of charges.
April 7 & 13, May 4, 9, 17 & 25: Hearings adjourned. Defence moves application seeking additional documents, medical reports and meat examination report from forensic lab in Mathura.
May 31: FTC provides copy of Mathura lab’s report to prosecution and defence.
June 6: Police files supplementary chargesheet on additional information from prime witnesses, Akhlaq’s son Danish and daughter Shaista. Two accused move plea seeking additional documents.
June 10: Hearing adjourned. Defence moves application seeking additional documents.
July 4: FTC closed due to holiday.
July 25: Hearing adjourned. Defence seeks additional documents, medical reports and report from Mathura lab.
August 1: Counsel for two prime accused seek additional documents.
August 8: Section of lawyers seek additional documents.
August 31: Hearing adjourned, judge on leave.
September 23: Hearing adjourned, judge on leave.
Meanwhile, on June 9 this year, Bisara resident Suraj Pal submitted a plea in a local court, seeking orders for police to register an FIR against Akhlaq and his family members on charges relating to cow slaughter and animal cruelty. On June 15, the court directed Jharcha police to file an FIR, under section 156 (3) of CrPC, against Akhlaq and his family members.
Ram Saran Nagar, a lawyer representing four of the accused, said, “Since there are 18 accused, the lawyers representing them make different pleas and hence the charges are yet to be framed. There are at least 5-6 lawyers involved in the case. Such things happen. The next hearing will take place on October 28.”
Yusuf Saifi, legal counsel for Akhlaq’s family, alleged that the plea to register an FIR against Akhlaq and six others shows the involvement of village residents in the incident. “They tried to put pressure on Akhlaq’s family. They concocted a false story and prepared some residents of the village, telling them that you have to file a case against Akhlaq’s family under section 156 (3),” Saifi claimed.
Akhlaq’s brother Jaan Mohammad said that his family had faith in the Constitution and the judiciary. “It has been a year since the incident. Hindus and Muslims used to live in harmony in the village before. While we have full faith in the Constitution and the judiciary, and the police have done everything possible, the case is pending and the guilty are yet to be punished. I am confident that the truth will finally come out. For a year, we have not visited the house that we grew up in,” he said.
Asked about the case registered against the family, he said, “I have been accused of slaughtering a cow in the village when I was not even present in Bisara at the time. But I fully cooperated with the investigation. I have lost a brother, my mother was hit, my nephew was brutally beaten up. We never raised a hand about it. When we have undergone so much, we are willing to wait for the judgment.”
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