Decoding Dadri lynching: From political mileage, to strange thoughts and boiling blood
A variety of issues surround the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was allegedly killed for having beef in his home
“This is a village of Thakurs and they express their sentiments in a very strong way… When religious sentiments of people are hurt, they get agitated and this sudden anger leads to such incidents,” former BJP MLA from Dadri, Nawab Singh Nagar told The Indian Express in the aftermath of the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq on Tuesday.
This rationalisation of a 58-year-old man allegedly being bludgeoned to death for what he was eating is a discomforting insight into the sort of issues surrounding what is being dubbed the ‘beef murder’.
The nationwide outrage is apparently misplaced, because episodes like this are not out of the ordinary. At least that’s what the BJP western UP unit’s vice-president Shrichand Sharma seemed to think, when he told The Indian Express that ‘this happens every day’.
“This was not a communal riot. The Hindu community worships cows. Whose blood won’t boil if they see cow slaughter?” asked Sharma.
What’s also clear is that some blood being spilt is apparently fine, if the other's blood boils.
According to The Times of India, a priest made the announcement that Akhlaq’s family had beef in their house. The priest later proceeded to defend himself, and told the police that he was ‘forced’ to make the announcement by two youths from Akhlaq’s village of Bisara.
The Times of India report points out that while the Akhilesh Yadav government wants the six arrested for Akhlaq’s murder to be tried under the National Security Act, the BJP’s beef appears to be with the meat in Akhlaq’s kitchen.
Thakur Harish Singh, the BJP district president is quoted as saying, “The locals gave samples of meat to the police but they (the cops) did not take it seriously. Then some people got agitated.”
The Uttar Pradesh government, The Hindu reports, has ordered a probe into the incident, even as the samples of the meat procured from the family’s kitchen have been sent for forensic analysis. The question here is: Should the quantum of punishment for the perpetrators will vary depending on the type of meat?
Meanwhile, with the Bihar Assembly election around the corner, the Congress weighed in with its own take. Referring to a ‘growing ambience and climate of hate’, party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told The Asian Age, “Such politics (need) to be condemned… Politics of poison and hatred is bound to grow in the run up to the Bihar elections.”
The report also quotes Singh as saying that ‘peace committees to restore communal harmony’ have been assembled.
It is fervently hoped that these committees bear little resemblance to the Samadhan Sena that popped up in the vicinity of village around four months ago. The Indian Express reports on the story of the little-known group that has been fanning the flames of communal unrest in villages across Dadri.
According to the report, Virpura village-resident Govind Chaudhary set up the Sena in June and has held meetings where groups comprising youths between 16 and 20 years of age would listen to “issues that had never bothered them before — like cow slaughter and the ‘declining’ population of Hindus”.
The father of one such youth expressed to The Indian Express his bewilderment at where this 'strange radical thought process' has come from. "One day, he was talking about movie stars and item numbers. The next day he began saying the population of Hindus in the country has dipped. I have asked him not to attend these meetings, but do young boys listen these days?"
Maybe they do, but only when their blood boils.
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