Tests performed on the animal remains now point that it was not beef but goat found in the polybag. However, this information serves no purpose now. As the poor man’s daughter asks ‘If it is not beef, will they bring back my dead father?’
A small town named Bishara, Dadri is the centre of all attention. Unheard, unspoken of till now, this sleepy little village has been in limelight for all the wrong reasons. This time the reason is killing of a Muslim man named Mohammad Akhlaq. This crime being eating beef on Eid. Not just bizarre, the story is as complex as it could be. There are more hues to it than just the communal ones.
On September 28, an innocent man was brutally killed and his son seriously injured; all this transpiring in front of his family. The merciless mob thrashed them out of their house, ruthlessly murdered the man and probably tried their level best to kill the son as well. Tired of venting out frustration, they left the boy dying on the streets. What actually triggered this is still unclear. To a family eating dinner at their home, the sudden clutter and chaos at their home was unexpected and uncalled for. What conspired in those thirty minutes was out of their wildest possible dreams.
Apparently, the man Akhlaq had consumed and stored beef on Eid, hurting the sentiments of people. A group of 10 people made an announcement at the neighbouring temple, collected the mob, barged into the poor man’s house and within a matter of few minutes slaughtered him to death. There is yet another angle of the story doing rounds in the media. It was not the sentiments of people being hurt by his eating beef. Instead this is a story of a calf going missing in the village. Rumours emerged of calf being found near Akhlaq’s house, packed in a polythene bag. Rumours also emerged of him stealing the calf, eating it and then dumping it in an open ground. It was this incident that incited the mob to callous killing of the man, solely based on rumours. How true those rumours were is worthless to know now. Tests performed on the animal remains now point that it was not beef but goat found in the polybag. However, this information serves no purpose now. As the poor man’s daughter asks‘If it is not beef, will they bring back my dead father?’
Whatever happened has happened. However, what is appalling is the reaction of Indian media and politicians to a grave incident like this. As is expected, the Indian politicians left no stone unturned in cashing in on this opportunity. Regardless of the crime, the opposition blames the ruling party of failing to do justice to its citizens. Like a fortune hunter, they left no chance of letting go of any prospect of garnering some additional publicity. So from Rahul Gandhi to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal visiting the family and village, we have leaders from diverse parties commenting on the issue and giving out gratuitous advice to everybody and anybody. One of the ministers even violated the ban order of congregating Hindu leaders in the same compound where announcement was made. What is worrisome is the amount of time it took for our righteous and secular PM to break his silence on the issue. The otherwise tech-savvy, moderately active PM who tweets about every pressing issue took an unusually large time to collect his thoughts on this one. And when he finally spoke about it in the Bihar rally, it was too little and too late. The PM played safe by urging the people to stay united and to not pay attention to irresponsible statements by other politicians. Bihar being in centre stage due to upcoming elections was a well thought of location to make this remark and equally calculated as well. It is disappointing to see all words and no actions to tackle the communal forces. There are other politicians trying equally desperately to gather any brownie points possible for sympathising with the family, be it in terms of compensation awarded or by indulging in a heart-to-heart conversation with the family, in presence of media of course.
As for the police and administration of UP is concerned, they are equally to be admonished. To not mince with words, this is not one of an unusual occurrence in UP. To say that we were not prepared and did not expect any thing to happen is to close your eyes and expect the lion to not see you. For some peculiar reason, communal forces have been overly active in UP and this region has witnessed more riots than any other. To fail to contain them and maintain law and order in your city is a clear failure of the state government. To blame the centre for your failure is to run away from the problem.
The media is to be equally blamed for fanning the flames instead of containing them. By painting the image with communal colours, it made sure to aggravate the situation and incite further tensions in the city. Sure it is an event to be condemned; sure the criminals must be brought to book. But should that necessarily involve crafting a narrative pointing to the Modi’s government always? Even before Mr. Modi was elected, there had been enough prejudices against him, which he had fought hard. Is it not the responsibility of the media to verify hard facts before pin-pointing the cause to the effect? Is it not wrong to label every event as Hindutva extremism without any evidence? Such incidents sure polarise the society and the press makes all the effort to divide it further in terms of caste and religions. Riots have erupted in town and consequently the town is now under cold calm of the police and paramedic forces. Such is the scenario that recently a group of students in Delhi marching in protest of lynching were detained and questioned by the police.
What gets lost amongst all these politics and headlines is the immense pain of the family members. Those who are still fighting for justice and do not care about the compensation being promised to them. The family is living under constant fear, is unable to live or leave the town and are grieving under enormous loss. In the end, it picture still remains hazy. Was it another of the communal events in our oh-so-secular-and-diverse nation or was a petty theft deliberated with some veiled intent?
Its NOW or NEVER!!
Its NOW or NEVER!!