‘We Lived Like Brothers’, Akhlaq’s Friend Manoj Talks to The Quint

‘We Lived Like Brothers’, Akhlaq’s Friend Manoj Talks to The Quint

India

Almost a week after Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob for allegedly storing beef in his house, village Bisahara in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh is dressed up like a fortress. Police vans and barricades have sealed all the entry points to the village and only bonafide residents of the village are allowed in.

The main entrance is adorned by a white gateway with a bronze Shivaji statue on the top. Adjacent to it is an eatery doing brisk business – in both veg and non-veg food – thanks all the waiting media-persons.

Entrance to village Bisahara, Dadri has been sealed by the Uttar Pradesh Police. (Photo: The Quint)
Entrance to village Bisahara, Dadri has been sealed by the Uttar Pradesh Police. (Photo: The Quint)
A dhaba near the village entrance is doing brisk business serving media-persons through the day. (Photo: The Quint)
A dhaba near the village entrance is doing brisk business serving media-persons through the day. (Photo: The Quint)

Inside the village, women stand guard with sticks and stones against trespassing media-persons and have also used these weapons against a few people and vehicles.

We met Manoj Sisodia near the periphery of the village.

Akhlaq ji and I were friends since the last 20 years. We were like brothers.
— Manoj Sisodia, Mohammad Akhlaq’s Friend

Sisodia talked about the secular nature of the village and how mutual love and respect bound the two communities. He was apprehensive about getting into the details of the incident which resulted in the death of Akhlaq and injured his son Danish. All the attempts to enquire about the mob and the politics of beef were met with a stiff “no comments” from Sisodia.

Village Bisahara has made it to national headlines and the subsequent political commentary and media visits have really ticked off the villagers.

As we were talking to Sisodia, a villager walked towards us with a stick in his hand. “Kaam nahin hain tum logon ke paas?” (Don’t you people have anything better to do?), he asked us.

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India