[Family members of Ikhlaq, who was killed by a mob over allegation of beef storage, mourn during his funeral at their village in Bisada Greater Noida. (Photo Courtesy: Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times)]
Dadri (Uttar Pradesh): Corporal Mohammad Sartaj - the 24-year-old son of Mohammad Akhlaque who was brutally beaten to death on mere rumors that he had eaten beef, expressing shock and anguish over the inhuman incident Thursday asked the reason why his father was killed.
"I want to know why they murdered my ailing father. What is the reason?", a shocked and grief stricken Sartaj - an engineer with the Indian Air Force who is based in Chennai, asked.
Corporal Sartaj said his father Mohammad Akhlaque was ailing and he had asked about his health on Monday evening during a routine telephone call. Barely half an hour later, he was informed that he was beaten to death.
"Around 25 minutes after I spoke to my father, my sister called and said 'they beat father and dragged him out'", Sartaj said.
Sartaj also alleged that among the attackers were also his neighbours, the people who had known the family for years.
"It was unblievable. There was no sign that something like this would happen. But, obviuosly, those who killed my father were neighbours", Sartaj said.
Mohammad Akhlaque was dragged out of his house in Greater Noida's Bishara village near New Delhi along with his 21-year-old son Danish on Monday night. Akhlaque was then beaten to death whereas Danish is in a critical condition since then.
Bishara, a village in the Dadri district of UP, on the outskirts of Delhi, has a population of about 3,000, and is dominated by Thakurs. The community is bound by a close feeling of kinship and no one is willing to speak out against their kinsmen.
The village also has about a hundred Muslims. The villages adjoining Bishara have similar demographics. Two of the villages are Gujjar dominated, but even there Muslims are in a vulnerable minority.
Eyewitnesses and relatives said an announcement was made at a local temple that a cow has been slaughtered here, following which a large number of people attacked the victims and their family. As the rumours spread, villagers blocked a highway in Bisrakh area demanding death penalty for those involved in the slaughter.
Superintendent of police (rural) Sanjay Singh said an FIR had been filed against 10 people, six of whom were nabbed and put behind bars. They have been identified as Rupender, Vivek, Sree Om, Sandeep, Saurabh and Gaurav, all in their late 20s.