New Delhi: Nearly a year after 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, his family faces criminal charges.
- Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, was lynched last year for allegedly eating beef
- Villagers in Dadri had demanded action against Akhlaq's family
- Akhlaq's family has left the village and are living in Delhi
A court on Thursday ordered an FIR or First Information Report against Akhlaq's family based on a petition by a neighbour in their village Bisada.
The petition, backed by those accused of Akhlaq's murder, alleges that his family had killed a calf and that his brother Jaan Mohammad was seen slitting the throat of the animal. It names seven members of the family, including Akhlaq's wife Ikraman) and mother Asgari.
The neighbour has claimed that Akhlaq and his son Danish were seen beating the calf on September 26. He alleges that they had said then that the calf was attacking people. Later, the petition says, a villager saw Akhlaq holding down the calf while his brother killed it.
Danish was also beaten brutally by the mob when the family was attacked two days later. The terrorised family left the village and are living in Delhi, along with Akhlaq's older son, an Air Force technician.
After a recent forensic report said the meat found in a dustbin outside Akhlaq's home was beef or the meat of "a cow or its progeny", a big meeting or mahapanchayat was held at the village, in which there were calls for action against Akhlaq's family.
Villagers in Dadri had demanded charges against Mohammad Akhlaq's family at a mahapanchayat in June.
Beef eating is not a crime in Uttar Pradesh but cow slaughter is a non-bailable offence that carries a punishment of up to seven years in jail.
Local BJP leader Sanjay Rana, whose son was among 18 arrested for Akhlaq's murder, exulted in the court decision.
"This is a victory of justice. I will go back to villagers with the court order. I will study the full order and then call a panchayat (village meeting) over it," Mr Rana told NDTV.
The new twists in the Dadri case come at a time political parties are prepping for elections in Uttar Pradesh next year.
Just after Akhlaq's killing, the initial analysis that the meat at his home was mutton reinforced conspiracy theories, with the state's ruling Samajwadi Party accusing the BJP and its affiliates of fueling trouble.