Kejriwal meets Akhlaq’s family, calls lynching ‘unfortunate’ (Roundup)

Greater Noida, Oct 3 (IANS) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday met the bereaved family of Mohammad Akhlaq who was lynched here following rumours that he ate beef, and described as “unfortunate” the brutal murder. Police, meanwhile, arrested two more suspects, taking the total arrests to eight.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader was allowed to meet the 50-year-old man’s widow and mother after he waited patiently for about four hours at a guest house after being initially barred by police from reaching Bisara village.

Kejriwal’s motorcade was halted after many Hindu women took to the streets protesting against the alleged bias of the media and officialdom following the September 28 night killing. Some of the demonstrators pelted stones.

After meeting the family of the victim, one of whose sons is in the Indian Air Force (IAF), Kejriwal said: “This incident is unfortunate and completely against humanity.”

Akhlaq was allegedly dragged out of his house and lynched after rumours spread that he slaughtered a cow, an animal venerated by Hindus. The family has denied the charge, saying they only ate mutton.

Targeting other political parties, Kejriwal said: “Neither Hindus nor Muslims benefited (from the killing). Only political parties and their leaders took advantage of the incident.

“One party wants to make Hindus its vote bank, while another is eyeing Muslim votes by poisoning relations between Hindus and Muslims,” he told reporters in the village, a clear reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party and Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party.

Police, meanwhile, arrested two more people, including the son of a local BJP leader, taking the total number of arrests in the case to eight. Two other accused are on the run.

Earlier in the day, over 500 Hindu women blocked roads leading to the village. They took out a procession, claiming journalists and politicians were biased in favour of the victim’s community.

As a result, police were looking for young Hindu men with a view to arrest them, they complained.

Many said they lived with Muslims and helped them build their shelters and mosque.

Some of the villagers attacked the vehicles of a few journalists.

Kejriwal spent about half an hour in the village and listened to the woes of the Hindu families as well.

He wanted to know why he and his colleagues were stopped by police and the administration when union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma as well as Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi were allowed to enter the village on Friday.

“Why me? I am most peace loving,” Kejriwal tweeted.

“I am being accused of doing politics. Yes, I am doing politics. But I am doing politics of unity and love, they are doing politics of hatred.

“We firmly believe that Hindus and Muslims have to stay united and not become vote banks. They want to divide people,” he added, not elaborating the “they”.

Sharma, the BJP Lok Sabha member from Gautam Buddha Nagar under which the area falls, and Hyderabad MP Owaisi met the dead man’s family on Friday.

Also on Saturday, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha termed as an “unfortunate incident” the lynching of the father of an IAF personnel, and said his officers were in touch with the family.

“The family will be moved to a safe area soon,” he told the media ahead of Air Force Day on October 8.

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