This murderous village is a part of Uttar Pradesh, a state ruled by the the Samajwadi Party. Since law and order is a state subject, the Bharatiya Janata Party bears no administrative responsibility for the mayhem. And yet, members of the BJP--local party officials, a Rajya Sabha MP, the union minister of culture--lined up to play down the wickedness and culpability of this lynch mob.
So Srichand Sharma the vice-president of the BJP's western UP unit, and Nawab Singh Nagar, former BJP MLA from Dadri told the Indian Express that the killing of Akhlaq was not premeditated or planned. It was provoked by cow-slaughter. In Sharma's words, "there was a clash and in the ensuing fight a man died." A clash. That's one way of describing what happened...if you're a one-eyed sectarian with an axe to grind, but anyone with binocular vision will see a man dragged out of his house and beaten to death as the victim of purposeful murder.
For Nagar, the possibility that Akhlaq and his family had been eating beef was an extenuating circumstance. That and the righteous wrath of provoked Hindus. "This is a village of Thakurs and they express their sentiments in a very strong way." Yes, this hotblooded horde of two hundred warriors was irresistible when it came to roughing up old women, murdering a middle-aged man and nearly killing his son. This, in the BJP's lexicon, is kshatriya valour.
Sharma went on to demand that the charge of murder be withdrawn. He wanted an FIR be lodged against the murdered man's Muslim family for allegedly slaughtering a cow. He threatened to mobilize a mahapanchayat in Bisara to protest against police harassment.
This genius for special pleading isn't limited to the BJP's rank and file. Tarun Vijay, RSS ideologue and BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha, wrote an op-ed in the Indian Express that began with a grotesque misreading of a question posed by Sajida, the dead man's daughter. Responding to the UP police's decision to 'forensically' examine the meat in Akhlaq's refrigerator to determine if it was beef, Sajida asked "If the results prove that it was not beef, will they bring back my dead father?" The desolation and anger behind the rhetorical question was lost on Vijay who chose to read it as a kind of resigned maturity, a refusal to 'politicize' her father's death. For the fanatical operative, everything is grist to the mill; even a daughter's grief can be reworked and pressed into the the service of spin.
The rest of Vijay's piece is a riot of diversionary non sequiturs. What about Tika Lal Taploo? What about cows? What about Dalits? What about Dalit women? On the why and the who of Akhlaq's murder, Vijay had nothing to say except that they shouldn't have killed him on the basis of a rumour.
The men who murdered Akhlaq killed him publicly because the ideological colour of the NDA government and precedents like Muzaffarnagar have fostered a sense of impunity. They knew that powerful, politically-connected men like Nagar, Sharma and Vijay would speak for them. Their local MP, Mahesh Sharma, is the union minister of culture and he rose to the occasion. The killing of Akhlaq, he declared, was an accident. "If someone claims the incident was pre-planned, I completely refute this. What happened was an accident. It is unfortunate." This mealy-mouthed majoritarian will say anything to appease his Hindu constituents. He will even describe a bloody lynching as an accident.
Tireless optimists who expect Mahesh Chandra's boss, the Prime Minister, to intervene in this matter and use the power of his office to reassure Bisara's Muslims of their safety and well-being, will have to wait awhile. During the general election in 2014, Mr Modi made speeches in Bihar where he re-mixed the BJP's cow-slaughter theme song with a new title, the 'Pink Revolution'. The lyrics of this new version went like this: the UPA government had subsidized cow-slaughter, butchers had grown rich on the back of meat exports...did Yadavs really want to make common cause with people who killed the sacred cow?
The Abolition of truth
RSS tradition of manufacturing facts to suit their ideology