Dadri is once again in the news, eight months after Mohammad Akhlaq was killed over eating beef. Only when we thought dust was settling down on the mob lynching of Akhlaq, and his family was coming to terms with the tragedy, a recent forensic report from a lab in Mathura claimed that the meat found in the house of Akhlaq was indeed beef. The lynching that occurred on 28 September last year, in Bisahra village of Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri district was a big blot on the secular fabric of India.
No sooner the forensic report was published, daggers were drawn yet again by political parties to play the blame game of communal unrest. Right after the incident, Uttar Pradesh Veterinary department had stated in a preliminary report, that the meat sample obtained from a dustbin outside Akhlaq’s home was “mutton of goat progeny”. But, beef or mutton, Akhlaq didn’t deserve to die for having his dinner with his choice of meat.
Akhlaq had committed no crime because cow slaughter is illegal in UP, not beef-eating. UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has questioned the authenticity of the latest lab report in the Dadri lynching case. The CM should tread the case with care, a slight miscalculation can lead to huge violence in his state, and the reverberations can travel to nearby states.
Just two days prior to the publishing of lab report, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehedual Musalmeen (AIMIM) announced that it will field candidates on all 403 Assembly seats in the upcoming state Assembly polls. News report says that the party is focusing on constituencies with dominant Muslim and Dalit population.
That can spell disaster for Akhilesh’s Samajwadi Party, who is trying to woo Muslim voters; Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party may also lose Dalit votes. Muslims are 18.5% of the total population in UP, according to the 2011 Census report. It can’t be mere coincidence that the recent lab report came closely on the heels of AIMIM’s declaration to put up a minority-based fight in UP Assembly polls in 2017.
The time is ripe for SP to sway the minorities in the state. But it’s important that Akhilesh Yadav should restrain from flogging the dead horse of Dadri lynching, least it becomes too late and communal fire guts down the already tensed up religious groups.