“Second Forensic Report Confirms the Meat Found in Mohammad Akhlaq’s Freezer was Beef, Not Mutton” – the news flash fired up social media and primetime debate schedules were quickly altered to include, once again, the Dadri lynching.
A purported forensic report contradicted the results of the test commissioned by the Uttar Pradesh police in October last year. At the time the police justified its decision to conduct the forensic test to “determine the motive of the murder”. It was mutton, just like Akhlaq’s 18-year old bruised, broken daughter Shaista had said.
What Doesn’t Add Up
Who commissioned the second test? Who handed over samples which by now were part of “crucial evidence” recovered from the Bisada’s only Muslim house? And why was it being released only now?
1. Anonymously Leaked by Defense Lawyer
The second forensic report was made available to a section of the media by the lawyer of an accused in the case, who chose to remain anonymous. Asked about the source of the report, the lawyer told The Times of India that ‘the document has been accessed from court”.
2. Sample Tested Was Collected from Carcass
The meat that was found to be from a “cow or its progeny” was not collected from Mohammad Akhlaq’s freezer, as has been widely reported. It was collected from the animal carcass that was found at the transformer near Mohammad Akhlaq’s house. The same carcass is believed to have incensed the Rajput-dominated village enough to break down the lohar’s door and kill him with the very bricks he used to prop his bed.
The Mathura lab report which says the meat tested was beef is not incorrect. But the fact that it is not the meat taken from Akhlaq’s freezer is a crucial omission.
3. Delay and Timing Questionable
The handwritten Mathura lab report is roughly eight months old and was leaked only now. Was this seemingly irrelevant, innocuous report made available to a few people in the media at the behest of those hoping to polarise the upcoming assembly election?
Polarisation: Mission Accomplished?
While the purported forensic report has been established to be misleading, political grandstanding regarding the basis of the report indicates that it has served its purpose.
“Withdraw Privileges Given to Akhlaq’s Family”
Yogi Adityanath, whose name has been doing the rounds as one of BJP’s chief ministerial candidates for the upcoming UP elections, has demanded that the 19 people (including a juvenile) who are in custody for Akhlaq’s alleged lynching, be freed.
Targeting the media for biased coverage, Yogi Adityanath demanded that “all the benefits given to Akhlaq’s family should be withdrawn and they should be charged for keeping cow meat in their house”.
Kin of Accused Demand Justice
Meanwhile, one of the accused Vishal’s father, Sanjay Rana, who is also a local BJP leader, will file a case against Mohammad Akhlaq and his family for cow slaughter. Consumption of beef is not banned in Uttar Pradesh, but cow slaughter is. Also, the chargesheet names Vishal Rana and his cousin Shivam as the main conspirators of the lynching.
UP CM Stands by Akhlaq’s Family
The Uttar Pradesh government has said that the nature of the meat will have no bearing on the case. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was quoted saying, “There was nothing suspicious found at Akhlaq’s residence or his refrigerator. We all are concerned about the issue and we want the family to get justice because it was a murder”
The court is also believed to have held the Mathura lab report irrelevant to the case. The next date of hearing is scheduled for 6 June.