DADRI: A week has passed since his father was brutally murdered by a mob, but Sartaj, a corporal in Indian Air Force and the hapless son of Mohammed Akhlaq, remains restless and disturbed. He feels that instead of ensuring justice to his father, people are playing politics with the family’s tragedy.
“Instead of understanding our pain, politicians are more concerned about their politics. My father’s death has become a subject of politics. Many politicians visited my home just to get media attention,” Sartaj told TOI.
“My family is patriotic. This is the reason I joined the Air Force. Communal harmony is the essence of democracy. Our nation is known for communal harmony. I appeal to people to not disturb the peace,” he said.
“Even though I have not been deployed on the border, I have worked with dedication for the country. Even my younger brother, Danish, was preparing to join the forces. He was studying for the combined defence services exam. He was attacked while he was studying,” he said.
And now he wants justice. “I am not concerned whom they (the killers) are related to, or what their religion is,” he told a news agency. “I am concerned only with justice. They have committed murder and eyewitnesses, my sister, have identified them. There are more people involved…. Justice should be such that it sets an example, allays fears from the minds of people. People are leaving the village out of fear. That terror should be dispelled. This incident should be the last incident.”
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Talking about their decision to leave Bisada and move to Chennai, Sartaj told TOI, “We were born and brought up in Bisada village. We have many fond memories of Bisada. But now my father is no more and Danish is unwell. There is no one in our family to take care of my mother and sister. We will definitely shift from the area. We do not have money or land to develop a home but I will take my family to Chennai, even if we have to live on rent.”
House of Mohammed Akhlaq. (TOI photo by Prem Bisht)
Half an hour before a mob descended on the house of Mohammad Akhlaq on the night of September 22, Sartaj had called from Chennai, where he is posted. Everything seemed normal, just like any other day.
Things changed brutally the next day. Sartaj is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that his father was lynched by a mob over rumours that he had stocked and consumed beef at home. His younger brother, Danish, 20, was also seriously injured and is now recovering in a Noida hospital.
Sartaj feels that in the last one week there were repeated attempts to disturb the communal harmony in the area. Seeking justice, and hoping that this should be the last such incident ever, Sartaj on Tuesday appealed to all parties to not politicise the issue.
Sartaz said he last came to Bisada in July on 22 days’ leave. “I left Bisada on August 9. I did not sense any conspiracy against my family. I regularly talk to my family and half an hour before the incident, I spoke to my family but everything seemed normal. Without any reason my father was killed. He used to help everyone in the village, but nobody turned up to help him when he needed them the most,” he said.