Move over beef, it is Hindu crematoriums versus Muslim graveyards in Muzaffarnagar

By Vasudha Venugopal, ET Bureau | June 6, 2016

MUZAFFARNAGAR: ” Akhlaq couldn’t have eaten the full cow all alone. The meat would have gone to 20 families there. It’s time to track them down and ensure justice is done to the other side, ” minister Sanjeev Balyan said here on Saturday, while addressing a Jan darbar at his house.
The issue of Dadri where 50 year old Akhlaq was killed by a mob following rumours of cow slaughter and beef consumption in September last year was the moot point of minister’s session with people in his constituency who had come to him with several problems, including those on appointments, admissions, encroachment by illegal slaughter houses that they said, should be closed down.

The state of Uttar Pradesh that is getting ready for elections next year is already simmering with tension after the recent report on Dadri came out and instances of violent clashes in Mathura.
Ministers and representatives such as Balyan have already jumped into the bandwagon of consolidating Hindu support. Balyan who was accused of inviting riots here in 2014 and had later won the elections with a huge margin has embarked on a unique programme which he says is a counter to the Samajwadi Party’s Rs 300 crore project for the construction of boundary walls of Muslim graveyards .

Balyan has built over 100 modern crematoriums for Hindus – separate for all communities, dalits, gurjars, jats and brahmins in his constituency. With free wood and other material needed for last rites, this is to counter the modernisation and renovation of muslim graveyards undertaken by the UP SP government, he said.

“A major part of my constituency funds has been spent on the crematoriums, because all the existing ones here were poorly maintained. During monsoon, people would wait for five six hours as the body wouldn’t burn, as there was no shed. The SP government spent several lakhs on renovating Muslim graveyards and left the hindus in lurch, even in their death,” he said. To revive the support of some of dalit communities that the BJP garnered in 2014, Balyan has built baraat ghar in 80 villages of his constituencies, wherein the groom’s family and relatives stay during weddings in a dalit household.

Talking about Dadri on Saturday, Balyan, who is also a veterinary doctor, refuted the findings of the State government which said the meat in Akhlaq’a house was mutton. “I am a veterinarian and a lawmaker, and I know there is no provision at district level to examine the kind of meat. They might have sent a few village officers for preliminary investigation but they have no facilities to test the meat. What the Mathura lab has said is final and the only authentic report, also sent to the court.”

“The killing is not justified even if it was beef, but it is important that justice is delivered. If beef was found, then the slaughter has happened there. Who did it? Who apart from Akhlaq’s family had it in their houses? The other side should get justice too,” the 43 year old minister who spends weekends in his constituency, told ET.

Last week, a report by a forensic lab in Mathura stated that the sample of meat sent from Dadri to the lab belonged to “cow or its progeny”. After the report became public, some residents of Bisara (in Dadri) filed a complaint against Akhlaq’s family for “killing a calf.” But earlier this week Uttar Pradesh Director-General of Police, Javeed Ahmed had told ET that no case can be filed against Mohd Akhlaq’s family as beef was found from a public place and there is no proof that a cow was slaughtered.

But Balyan is open in his allegations. “The UP CM has been cornered now as his patronage being given to cow slaughterers is exposed. Lohia village with a significant Muslim population is the only place that sees development in UP,” he said.

Those present in the Balyan’s double storeyed house nod in agreement with him. Most of the over 500 odd people have been waiting since morning to get their grievances addressed by Balyan The fact that there has been no electricity since morning adds weight to their criticism of the State government. Falling sugarcane prices, shortage of drinking water are expressed, but in the midst of all, a group of men from Chitaura village, rushed to tell Balyan about the ongoing Hindu – Muslim war there. “The new pradhan is a hindu, after years. The shias supported him this time. But there is tension there,” Chandrapraksh, one of those said. They also talk about the 2013 mahapanchayat which sparked the MUZAFFARNAGAR riots, and say “it was not the first time the hindus had consolidated and will not be the last.”

Balyan said the Muzaffarnagar riots took place because the Hindus felt persecuted and those problems have still not been addressed.

“We in Muzaffarnagar want to move away from our past and work for everyone’s well being. But the government here is appeasing only the Muslims. Cow slaughter happens in all muslim majority districts in UP. Officers who have tried to stop cow slaughter have been transferred,” he said.

“I have written more letters to Akhilesh than any person would to his lover. He replies too, saying he will look into it but never does anything more,” Balyan said, adding, “Dadri would not have been an an issue had the SP not milked the issue,” he added.

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