His family reportedly never carried out sacrifices on Bakri-Eid to avoid any confrontation with other villagers, but on Monday night a mob surrounded the house of Mohammad Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri area and beat him to death over a rumour that his family was consuming cow meat.
The mob surrounded 50-year-old Akhlaq’s home accusing him of eating cow meat, broke down the doors, dragged him and his son out of their home and beat them with bricks, his daughter Sajida told the Indian Express.
The mob dragged her brother into the courtyard where they continued to beat him and some people also assaulted her grandmother and molested her, she said.
As per the rumour, the remains of a calf that had allegedly gone missing on 16 September were found near Akhlaq’s home. Akhlaq was allegedly seen throwing a bag containing meat and villagers claimed that it was from the missing calf.
Kiran S, the SSP of Dadri told NDTV that the police had arrived at the site of the incident after reports of mob violence and had taken Akhlaq and his son to a hospital in Noida. But Akhlaq, a farm worker, succumbed to his injuries, he said. His son is reportedly in critical condition.
He confirmed that the preliminary reason for the attack seemed to be the fact that rumours had been spread about the family consuming cow meat. Kiran told the Indian Express that as per their investigations a group of persons had made the public announcement at the temple after which the mob attacked Akhlaq’s home.
“The family has been living there for 30-35 years and they had are very few relatives in that area. We are trying to figure out how the rumour began,” he told the channel.
He said that the family was conscious about the area they lived in and avoided making any animal sacrifice during Bakri-Eid.
“The family said that they would obtain meat from their relatives in Ghaziabad,” he said.
Strangely, the police has sent the meat recovered from the family’s home to the Forensic Science Laboratory to verify what meat it was. This despite the fact that Uttar Pradesh isn’t among the states that has banned the slaughter or sale of beef. Akhlaq’s daughter, Sajida, told the Indian Express that the meat the family had in the fridge was mutton.
Kiran said that the police has registered an FIR in which they have named 10 persons and they have made six arrests so far. While some claimed that among those arrested were the temple priest and an aide, the police told the Indian Express that the priest had been released.
The Indian Express also reported that the arrests had sparked protests in the area that resulted in damage to vehicles and the police reportedly had to resort to firing to control them. One person was reportedly injured in the firing.