Open Letter to Shri Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh
Why Have Key Witnesses, Evidence and Charges of Conspiracy Been Excluded by UP Police in the Dadri Case?
The lynching and murder of Akhlaque at Dadri shook the conscience of the entire country. It is extremely important that justice be ensured for Akhlaque. Unfortunately, there are many concerns about the prospects of justice in this case.
Recently, in a speech, Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav said that if Prime Minister Modi were to call him, he would reveal the names of three BJP men involved in the Dadri lynching. Soon after the lynching, too, Shri Mulayam Singh had said that three members of an organization were “responsible for hatching this Dadri conspiracy,” and that they had “played a role in the Muzaffarnagar riots as well.”
The question is, what is stopping the Uttar Pradesh police from charging the men responsible for this murderous conspiracy? Newspapers have reported that the chargesheet filed in the case by the police, has omitted to invoke any charges of conspiracy (Section 120). (See report titled ‘Dadri lynching: Chargesheet rules out conspiracy angle in murder of Akhlaq’ in DNA, 24 December 2015, and ‘Dadri case diary shows shoddy probe’, The Hindu, Jan 11, 2016)
The police had earlier said that under interrogation, it had emerged that it was Shivam and Vishal Rana, sons of BJP leader Sanjay Rana who had told the temple priest to announce the alleged ‘cow slaughter’ by Akhlaque. This was undeniable proof that the killing of Akhlaque was a planned conspiracy, not ‘spontaneous mob violence.’ Yet the chargesheet fails to name the priest, either as a witness or as a conspirator. The priest has been allowed by the police to mysteriously ‘disappear.’ Why has a key witness, the priest, been excluded from the chargesheet?
Even the murder weapons recovered by the police are reportedly yet to undergo any forensic tests.
By failing to include conspiracy charges under Section 120, excluding key witnesses and failing to conduct timely forensic tests, the UP police is weakening the case, making it tougher to establish murder charges under Section 302 against any specific persons.
The question of justice in the Dadri case is not a personal matter for Shri Mulayam Singh ji and Shri Modi to discuss on phone in secret. It is a crucial question for India’s democracy that concerns every citizen of India. Dadri cannot merely be a matter for poll rhetoric or political calculations. It is the duty of the Uttar Pradesh Government to ensure that the UP Police duly corrects its shoddy probe, and closes the loopholes in the chargesheet that will allow the conspirators and killers to escape.
Shri Mulayam Singh ji has observed rightly that those involved in the Muzaffarnagar riots are also implicated in the Dadri killing. Surely this also means that the failure of the UP Government to ensure punishment for those responsible for the Muzaffarnagar violence of 2013, has emboldened the same elements to carry out the Dadri violence?
This was openly displayed when BJP MLA Sangeet Som visited Dadri after Akhlaque’s killing and threatened the law and administration that “we have given a befitting reply earlier and can do so again” in case anyone was arrested. He was obviously referring to Muzaffarnagar, where those accused in riots and rapes are yet to be punished, and are instead being emboldened by visits and assurances from powerful leaders like Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan.
Dadri was no isolated instance. After Akhlaque, Noman in Himachal Pradesh and Zahid in Jammu and Kashmir were killed by mobs who alleged that they had been “smuggling cows.” More recently, Gau Rakshak Samiti members beat up a Muslim couple in a train at Khirkiya railway station in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh on 15 January, and its leader ‘warned’ the Police of a repeat of large-scale riots in case arrested men were not released.
If the conspirators and killers of Dadri are not nailed, if the leaders of organizations carrying out such murderous campaigns do not get timely and exemplary punishment, then they will continue their campaign of terror and violence, all over the country.
It is true that outfits related to the BJP, Sangh Parivar are squarely responsible for such violence. But there is also no doubt that they indulge in these crimes with the confidence of impunity. This is because the police and administration, not only in states ruled by BJP but all states, are weakening cases and providing gaping loopholes in investigation and prosecution that create hurdles for justice.
Mr Chief Minister, Akhlaque was killed by communal forces in full public view. It is up to your Government and law and order machinery to ensure that the prospect of justice for Akhlaque is not similarly killed in full public view. We, the undersigned ask you to visit Dadri yourself, meet the concerned police officials, and ensure that the key witnesses and evidence is duly included and conspirators booked in the Dadri case.
For All India People’s Forum(AIPF)
N D Pancholi