Wife says her husband was beaten to death by mob over rumours that he and his family had consumed beef
The wife of an Indian Muslim man brutally murdered over rumours that he and his family had consumed beef said on Saturday that a group of boys in the village had called her son ‘Pakistani’ days before the lynching.
Three days before Mohammad Ahklaq’s death, his 22-year-old son Mohammed Danish told his mother that a group of boys in their village had called him “a Pakistani”, according to the Indian Express.
Read: Mob rule: Muslim man lynched for ‘eating beef’ in India
“Some boys from the village were sitting near a shop that day. When they saw my son going to the mosque, they called him a Pakistani. They said, ‘Look, a Pakistani is living in this village. We will not tolerate this. The incidents of Muzaffarnagar (riots in 2013) will be repeated here’. At that time, we did not pay much heed to these comments. We did not realise that this kind of hatred and resentment has been simmering inside their hearts,” Mohammed Akhlaq’s wife, Ikram, said.
In an FIR lodged by the family, Ikram recorded her statement with the police and said she had seen the faces of the attackers and could recognise them.
“They broke our household items, including the fridge. When my daughter and mother tried to intervene, they pushed them aside. We got so scared that we hid in a corner and we came out only when the police reached. Before leaving, they told us that if we told the police anything, they would kill our entire family,” she said.
Read: 6 outrageous statements by BJP about Muslim man’s murder over eating beef
A mob beat to death 50-year-old Akhlaq and severely injured his son, Danish, following rumours that he and his family had been consuming beef.
Residents of the Bisara village in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, attacked the family on Monday night after a local temple reportedly spread rumours that some Muslims had been slaughtering cows, police officials said.
Members of various political parties and outfits, distant relatives, police officials and the media had reached Bisara, but Akhlaq’s family felt “betrayed and abandoned” by neighbours and friends.
“Many of our Hindu neighbours would visit us, ask my husband to work on their farms or repair something in their homes. On Eid, they would ask us to remember them and we would give them sewai or mutton prepared for the occasion. They would ask us to stitch clothes for them. Since Monday night, they have not even come near our house,” said Ikram.
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Still in search of answers, Ikram wondered if the fact that her family was doing well financially is what caught the eye of the mob.
“My eldest son has a stable job in the Air Force while my younger son is pursuing graduation, hoping to join the Army. We have lived here for several decades but never faced any problems. Could they have been jealous because our financial condition was gradually improving as our children had started earning?” she asked. The house in Bisara was the only property that Akhlaq’s family claimed to own — a five-room structure with two refrigerators, a washing machine and a small TV set.
“Earlier, my husband used to approach people in the village for work. But with my eldest son employed and the other on the verge of getting a job, he stopped doing that. But if people came to him and asked for help, he would not refuse. Doing these odd jobs would get him around Rs 4,000 every month. My daughter and I would stitch blouses or shirts, earning around Rs 2,000 every month. My eldest son would also send some money,” Ikram said.
Read: Indian leader warns of unrest over Modi govt’s ‘Quran discourages eating beef’ claim
However, following the incident, Akhlaq’s family is now in search of another house as his daughter while demanding a CBI inquiry said “There is security deployment in the village right now but we are still scared to step out at night. What will happen once they leave? We cannot live here anymore.”
This article originally appeared on The Indian Express