Mathura-based forensic laboratory’s report has disclosed that the meat collected from the crime scene in Dadri where 50-year-old Akhlaq was allegedly lynched after the rumour that his family was consuming cow meat, was actually meat of cow or its progeny. The fresh disclosure may not affect the case of murder, but it has certainly heated the politics in the state which will go to polls in less than nine months.
On Wednesday, BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath demanded that the financial assistance given to Akhlaq’s family should be taken back and they should be booked under Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act. He also demanded that the Hindu youths arrested in the case of Akhlaq’s murder should be released from the jail.
BJP which is hugely dependent on consolidation of Hindu votes to make an impact in the next year’s elections, especially in western UP, will definitely use the disclosure to their advantage, if not directly than through the hardliners like Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj and Sangeet Som.
The RSS is already learnt to have asked one of its affiliate organisations to take up the issue of so-called love jihad, the target of which are the Muslim youths and inter-religion couples. The disclosure of the report that it was not mutton but cow meat is likely to be used to deepen the differences between the two communities, mainly in the region where the rift created by communal riots of 2013 is still not healed. The pro-Hindutva organisations could increase their anti-cow slaughter, anti-beef activities in the state.
Police and prosecution officials have said that the report will not affect their case against the alleged killers of Akhlaq. The government has only said it will take all the steps needed to give justice to Akhlaq’s family.
The report has been generated by the understaffed Forensic Lab in Mathura, which works under the Animal Husbandry Department of the state. Situated inside the campus of Mathura Veterinary College, the lab specialises in examining meat of cow and its progeny. It gets samples of seized meat from across the state and even a few from other states like Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
However, the report could put the ruling Samajwadi Party in a spot at a time when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is trying to project himself as to be known for his development works.
While the BJP and most of its leaders have targetted the SP government calling it working for only one community, Akhilesh has tried not to show his government not only as pro-minority but as the one working for development of all sections, especially since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it lost the support of most of its Hindu voters. The RSS and affiliated organisations may attempt to use the issue to influence the backward castes like Yadavs which are traditionally vegetarian in rural areas.
Any response from the SP and BSP, which is also banking largely on uniting Muslims with Dalits to sail through in the coming elections, is likely to be used by the BJP to paint them as partisan to one community. And the BJP, in the hope that the SP and BSP are perceived as pro-Muslim, will try not to let the issue die any time soon.