India: Court stays arrest of family of man lynched on suspicion of eating beef

The petition that a police case be filed against Akhlaq's family was backed by the persons accused of his murder. (Representative image) Photograph:( DNA )

DNA Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India Aug 26, 2016, 01.37 PM (IST)
The Allahabad high court has stayed the arrest of five of six members of Mohammad Akhlaq's family. Akhlaq had been beaten to death by a mob in the village of Dadri in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh because he was thought to have eaten beef. 

Many Hindus in India think of the cow as sacred and the killing of cows is banned in a number of states. 

The court however refused to stay the arrest of Akhlaq's brother, saying he "could have been involved in the alleged act alongside his deceased brother". 

The family had moved the Allahabad High Court against a recent lower court order that a police case be filed against them for storing and consuming beef under the Cow Slaughter Act. The lower court order came on the heels of a forensic report which said that the meat found inside Akhlaq's home was that "of cow or its progeny".

Maulana Amir Rahsadi Madni, national president of the Rashtriya Ulama Council, however alleged that the evidence in the infamous Dadri lynching had been "tampered" with and also raised questions over the conflicting Dadri and Mathura lab reports on the sample of meat sent for examination.

"First of all, the meat recovered was more than 150 metres away from Akhlaq's house," he said.

The court order that a police case be filed against them came 10 days ago following a petition by a neighbour in Akhlaq's village Bisada. The petition was backed by the persons accused of Akhlaq's murder. In the petition, the neighbour has claimed that on September 26, Akhlaq and his son Danish were seen beating the calf. Later, the petition said, a villager saw Akhlaq holding down the calf while his brother killed it.

(WION, this story first appeared on the DNA website)