Union minister Mahesh Sharma, who has already courted controversy for his recent comments, on Thursday termed the lynching of a Dadri resident as a mere “accident” and said the blatant killing should also be seen as one.
“Ye sirf durghatna maana jaaye, aur ise kisi bhi tarah ka saampradaayik rang na dia jaaye (This should be considered only as an accident, and it should not be given any communal colour),” Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said in a statement.
Mohammed Akhlaq, 50, a resident of Bisara village in Greater Noida area was allegedly dragged out of his house and lynched on Tuesday after rumour spread in the area that he had kept beef in his house. The incident led to tension in the area.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in power in Delhi, said its leaders would address press conference at its Patel Nagar office on Thursday.
In another development, the National Commission for Minorities on Wednesday had asked the Noida district magistrate to file a report on the incident while the Delhi government ordered free treatment to the injured members of Akhlaq’s family who have been admitted to a private hospital in Noida.
Akhlaq was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries, according to the police.
Police said a case was registered against 10 people, of whom six have been arrested.
Following the arrests, irate residents blocked roads and set a police vehicle afire. The agitators also pelted stones at police personnel.
Police had to use force to disperse the mob, and additional personnel have been deployed to maintain peace.
The National Commission for Minorities on Wednesday took up the issue, an official said. Panel chairman Naseem Ahmad spoke to the Noida district magistrate and sought a report on the incident, which the panel described as “cowardly and reprehensible”.
In a response to a complaint filed by lawyer Shehzaad Poonawala, the commission said: “District officials have been asked to send a report on the incident to the NCM at the earliest. After receipt of the report, we will be taking up the matter with both the union home minister and Uttar Pradesh chief minister.”
The panel also noted that the incident was “communalism in its ugliest manifestation and cannot, and must not, go unpunished in a secular nation”.
Poonawala said that, “the incident was not only barbaric but also an assault on the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”