Tejpal Nagar, BJP MLA from Dadri, has promised jobs to all the alleged killers of Mohammad Akhlaq in National Thermal Power Corporation Dadri on contract basis. Over 15 accused youths in the Akhlaq murder case were released by Allahabad High Court last month.
"Yes, we have agreed to give jobs to residents of Bishahra. It has nothing to do with Akhlaq's lynching. It is NTPC's policy to give jobs to all the project affected persons ( PAF) based on their qualification and expertise," an NTPC spokesperson told exclusively to NewsClick.
Nagar who has been a continuous supporter of all the accused residents of Bishahra who lynched Akhlaq, their neighbour, over rumours of beef, took the initiative last week and talked to the NTPC management to provide jobs to the youths on contract basis. Some of them used to work in NTPC on contractual basis but lost their jobs after they were arrested and jailed for about two years on charges of killing Akhlaq on September 28, 2015.
The occasion for his meeting with NTPC officials arose when Neeraj, a resident of Bishahra and also brother of one of the accused in the Akhlaq's lynching case, immolated himself at the NTPC gate, a month after he was thrown out of contractual job in NTPC. Neeraj who used to work in NTPC on contract basis, succumbed to injuries last week after which resident of Bishahra organised series of protest to get a job to Neeraj's family members. The BJP MLA intervened and met the NTPC officials to get “justice” for Neeraj.
“I met the senior management of NTPC last week. A written agreement has been made between NTPC officials and elders of Bishahra village that a job will be provided to Neeraj's wife in the school which is in the premise of NTPC. Both the parties also agreed to provide jobs to all the youths who were arrested in Akhlaq's lynching case in the next three months,” Nagar told the media.
Asked if the murder accused should be given jobs by NTPC, Nagar said, “Look, they are innocent youths who were framed by the Samajwadi Party government. Akhlaq did not die in the village. He died much later in hospital. The villagers did not mean to kill him. They turned emotional after seeing beef and as the witness in cow slaughter case has also said, Akhlaq accepted of the cow slaughter”
“The case might take years to be deposed. Does it mean that these youths should starve? If the honourable High Court of Allahabad granted them bail then they also have the right to work and feed themselves,”, said Nagar who is the new MLA from Dadri. He clarified that it was not a government job but temporary work being provided on contract basis.
The news of jobs on the intervention of the BJP MLA, however, did not surprise Jan Mohammad, the brother of Akhlaq. Mohammad has been made the main accused in the cow slaughter case which was filed by the Bishahra villagers against Akhlaq, his son Danish, daughter Shaista mother Asghari Begum, wife Ikraman and his brother Jan Mohammad.
He told NewsClick that “I am not surprised that BJP MLA was batting for the accused. However, I strongly feel that it is an unfortunate development. As a party representative Nagar should fight for justice and not the perpetrators.”
Nagar is not the first BJP leader and not the first party MLA who has come in defence of Akhlaq's alleged killers. Many senior BJP leaders in the past had been, at best soft on the killers of Akhlaq and at worst, they ended up being their advocates. Prominent reason for this is that key accused in this case, Vishal Rana is the son of the local BJP leader Sanjay Rana. Nine of the other 14 accused in the case are also related to Sanjay Rana. Several senior BJP leaders of western Uttar Pradesh repeatedly defended the accused youths saying that they did not mean to kill Akhlaq and it was just that they got “excited”. Few days after Akhlaq's lynching, Sangeet Som, the BJP MLA from Sardhana constituency and an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnaar riots, came in support of the killers of Akhlaq. He visited Bishahra and publicly announced that the accused youth were innocent and he would arrange legal fee for them. He had also termed Akhlaq's family as “cow slaughterers”.
When one of the lynching accused Ravin Sisodia died of Chikangunya, the villagers termed him a martyr and draped the casket of his dead body into the national flag, an outright violation of law. At that time the local Member of Parliament and then Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma went to the village and paid homage to the dead body of Sisodia, thereby, legitimising the right-wing narrative of Akhlaq's alleged killers as “Hindu brave-hearts and martyrs”.
Other reason of the support of BJP leader for the alleged killers of Akhlaq is that Bishahra is a Thakur dominated village and the dominant community is a known vote bank of the saffron party.
In the 2012 Assembly elections Dadri had voted for Bahujan Samaj Party MLA. BSP has traditionally been strong force in Dadri also because of Mayawati's ancestral village, Badalpur falling in the constituency.
But this time around Akhlaq's lynching in 2015 and the communal mobilisation around the issue openly by right wing groups in favour of the BJP, helped the saffron party win the seat. Nagar, the BJP candidate, got the maximum number of Bishahra's votes because he had assured that once BJP will come to power, it will deliver “justice” to the youths. That is why months after winning the seat and after formation of the BJP government, he had publicly declared all the accused in Akhlaq's murder case to be innocents. He had also requested the chief minister Yogi Adityanath to help in their release.