Bishahra village in Dadri is simmering with anger again. Eight months after 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlak was lynched by a frenzied mob over allegedly storing beef in his house, the villagers are planning to file a cow slaughter complaint against the victim’s family.

The latest forensic report prepared by a lab in Mathura, confirming the meat sample sent from Akhlak’s house to be beef, has triggered a debate over who the real victims are.

A unanimous opinion among the villagers is that the 18 people, arrested for the murder of Akhlak, have been “victimised”.

“Why should only we suffer? Isn’t the law same for everybody living in this country? Our children are being victimised for getting angry at the slaughter of mother cow,” Ombir, an electrician whose son is one of the accused, tells.

Ombir, along with the family members of other accused, is planning to seek police action against Akhlak’s family.

“We want to press charges of cow slaughter against Akhlak and his family because all of them were together in the conspiracy to kill a cow, which is against the law. There was a calf which used to roam the lanes of the village. On September 28, it went missing,” says Ombir.

His claim is backed by other villagers. “A man died. I condemn that. But so did a cow,” says Master Omprakash, a man in his early 70s.

Pointing towards Akhlak’s house, barely 20 metres away, Ombir says, “These people should go to jail for hurting our sentiments.”

He says the complaint will be ready by Thursday, after which they will approach the local police station to lodge an FIR. If the police do not register the FIR against Akhlak’s family, the villagers would call a mahapanchayat, announces the 48-year-old electrician.

“We are also planning a massive protest to push for the bail and release of all the 18 accused,” says Ombir, while demanding that the compensation given to Akhlak’s family be withdrawn. “These people broke law and hurt our sentiments. They should not be rewarded for that.”

Meanwhile, tension prevails on the other side of the village where the Muslim residents are apprehending a backlash.

“You can feel the tension in the air. We just hope nothing bad happens again. There is a sense of unease among people in this mohalla,” says Rahimuddin, a resident of the Muslim settlement.

Akhlak’s son Sartaj Saifi, who works with the Indian Air Force, claims conspiracy in the “manner in which the latest forensic report was prepared and presented in the media ahead of the State Assembly polls (due early next year)”.

“First you said it was mutton. Now we are told its beef. How has the report changed? Under whose supervision was the test done? We are curious to know why there are two different reports on one meat sample. There are more questions than answers about this contradictory forensic report,” says Saifi on phone from Delhi. “The National Commission for Minorities had in its report said that the entire lynching episode was pre-planned. That’s a very crucial aspect we need to ponder before coming to any conclusion about this issue,” Saifi adds.

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