New Delhi: In September last year, 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged out of his home and killed by a mob of at least 100 in Uttar Pradesh's Dadri over rumours that he had stored beef.
- Mathura lab forensic report says meat found 'was of cow or its progeny'
- Mohammed Akhlaq was killed by a mob last year on suspicion of eating beef
- An earlier test said the meat found in his house was mutton, not beef
The police took meat samples from a dustbin outside Akhlaq's home and quoted a local doctor as saying that it was mutton.
In a major twist to the case eight months on, a forensic report submitted in court has said that the meat was beef or that of "a cow or its progeny".
"Initially we did say mutton but subsequently we were told by the lab that it was beef," Uttar Pradesh police chief Javed Ahmed told NDTV on Tuesday.
Beef eating is not a crime in Uttar Pradesh, only cow slaughter is. The police say they tested the meat only to establish the motive for Akhlaq's killing.
A local BJP leader's son was among 18 arrested for murder.
The report comes at a time parties are prepping for high voltage elections in Uttar Pradesh next year.
Madhukar Jaitely, a lawmaker of the state's ruling Samajwadi Party said: "Our stand remains the same. Someone was lynched and we will ensure that justice is one to the person."
The BJP's Vijay Bahadur Pathak said: "Had the state government acted in time, the incident could have been avoided."
Last year, the Dadri incident and other attacks linked to cow-killing and beef-eating were held up by opposition parties and activists as examples of rising intolerance and bullying by groups linked to the BJP.
The meat near Akhlaq's home was initially examined by a veterinary doctor in Dadri, whose analysis that it was mutton reinforced conspiracy theories. The Samajwadi Party accused the BJP and its affiliates of trying to polarize the region by spreading false rumours.
The new report has been rejected by Akhlaq's family, which has always denied eating beef on the day of the attack.
"Dadri police said mutton, now you are saying it is beef. This is all politics," said Akhlaq's brother Jaan Mohammad.