Media reports say that there were celebrations in the village on their arrival back
One of the accused in the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq, Punit was released late last evening and media reports suggest that some villagers celebrated his release as he reached his village. Punit and another accused in the gruesome lynching of Akhlaq, Arun were granted bail by the High Court on April 6. Both were lodged in a jail in Greater Noida. Arun’s bail documents are expected to reach the district in next two days and till then he will remain in jail.
The two are accused in the murder of Mohammed Akhlaq in Bisada village in Dadri tehsil of Gautam Buddh Nagar district in September, 2015. Akhlaq was beaten to death by a mob on suspicion of cow slaughter after they barged into his house. His son Danish was critically injured in the attack. There was no proof that the meat found in the possession of the mob was beef at all. At the time a case was registered against more than a dozen persons, including the son of a local BJP leader, in connection with the attack. There were at the time only two Muslim families in the neighbourhood where Akhlaque's family stays. Akhlaque's family has almost decided to leave the village and shift out to the airbase in Chennai where his younger son Sartaj works as a technician. In other parts of the village, about 52 Muslim houses exist.
Central BJP leaders including Ministers have been, in brazen acts of defiance of the rule of law, been ‘paying homage’ to the accused since the crime took place. The Hindu reported on October 4, 2015, days after the killing by a lynch mob of Mohammed Akhlaq that Sangeet Som, then BJP MLA, visited the village Bisada amid rising communal tension and vowed to “ try to get bail for Dadri accused” . Som was himself accused in the brutal communal violence that swept four districts of western Uttar Pradesh including Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Shamli and Meerut in September 2013, eight months prior to the general election that swept the Modi government to power in May 2014. Som visited the village soon after the killing and made this controversial statement justifying the murder, addressing an excited mob and deliberately politicising the issue by addressing the mob from a local temple.
Without specifically referring to the Muzaffarnagar riots, Som an elected representative had taken law unto his own hands and warned, “ kanoon kanoon ki tarah kaam kare. Warna, ham pahle bhi muhtod jawab de chuke hai aur aage bhi denge [the law should act as law. Otherwise, we have given a strong reply in the past and would do that in future as well]” In keeping with his majoritarian, Hindutva image in western UP, Sangeet Som refused to condemn the mob lynching of Akhlaq. When the media had asked Mr. Som if he would go on to condemn the murder, he smiled and said,” Let the enquiry report come as to what happened that day”. Strangely the UP state administration under Akhilesh Yadav had banned the media from covering Som’s visit while allowing him to conduct himself with impunity.
Som had also met the families of accused arrested for inciting and killing Akhlaq. He assured the families and the crowd that he would try to get them out on bail. One of the nine accused, Vishal is son of Sanjay Rana, a senior and old time BJP worker from the area. Sanjay Rana alleged that his son was being framed in the entire episode and the actual conspirators were not being arrested.
Then again, last year, the Times of India reported how, on October 6, Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma in the Modi government visited the family of deceased Ravin Sisodia, also one of the accused in Dadri lynching case. Shockingly, the minister tweeted the pictures of his visit to Ravin's grieving family in Bisada village of Uttar Pradesh. The 22-year-old was one of the 18 accused for the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq last year over suspicion that he had eaten and stored beef.
"Met the family of deceased Ravin in Bisara village, Greater Noida. Bisara get settled now," Mr Sharma tweeted after his visit.The photo of Sharma folding his hands and paying obeisance to the dead body of Ravi, who had died in police custody of chikungunya, had gone viral on social media platforms. Sharma, who is the local MP, also handed over a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to the family of Ravi Sisodia, a key accused in the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq in September 2015.
Worse was the act of the body of the dead accused being draped in a tricolour, with the policemen and administration officials remaining mute spectators. Counter criminal cases were demanded by the mob, to be registered against both the brother of the murdered Akhlaq and the jailer. A pathetic level of competitiveness in demanding Rs 1 crore compensation for the dead accused was indulged in by the mob with the Central Minister Mahesh Sharma present. Shaken by the majoriatrian mobilisation, the Akhilesh Yadav government, instead of dealing with the issue through dialogue, succumbed to mob pressure and even announced Rs 10 10 lakh compensation to the deceased Ravi’s wife Pooja. Uttar Pradesh Police claimed that Ravi was suffering from high fever and his death was suspected to be due to dengue.
Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana Win Again Due to Vote Division
Clearly the communal polarisation helped both BJP candidates Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, who are accused of crimes in the Muzaffarnagar violence win. Som won from Sardhana and Suresh Rana from Thana Bhawan seats respectively.Sangeet Som secured 97,921 votes while his nearest rival SP’s Atul Pradhan got 76,296 votes in Sardhana (Meerut). In Thana Bhawan (Shamli), Suresh Rana got 90,995 votes while BSP’s Abdul Waris Khan secured 74,178 votes.