NTPC Washes Hands of Contractual Jobs Offered to 15 Accused in Dadri Lynching

BJP MLA Tejpal Nagar, who facilitated the recruitment of the youths, said that the accused were “innocents” and that they deserved a “better deal”.

New Delhi: One week after the news first broke that 15 of those accused of the September 2015  lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Bishahra village of Dadri over suspicion of storing beef in his house have landed contractual jobs with NTPC Limited,  the public sector company has issued a statement insisting it has not made any such offer. The story was first reported  by Amar Ujala on October 9 and subsequently by The Hindu and the Times of India, which quoted company officials offering an explanation for the jobs.

On September 28, 2015, Akhlaq and his son Danish were dragged out of their home, mercilessly assaulted and then left for dead over allegations of slaughtering a calf and storing its meat in their fridge. While Akhlaq died on the spot, his son sustained critical injuries.

The 18 accused of killing Akhlaq are all out on bail, as per a promise made by BJP leaders after the lynching.

According to The Hindu‘s report, Tejpal Nagar, the local BJP MLA, had facilitated the recruitment of the 15 youths in a meeting with senior NTPC officials.

The employment offer was said to be  part of the ‘Maharatna’ company’s scheme to offer opportunities to people affected by its projects – Bishahra is located in the vicinity of an NTPC plant and land from many villagers was acquired three decades ago to set it up, The Hindu report went on to say.

“Yes, we have agreed to give jobs to unemployed youths of Bishahra. It has nothing to do with Akhlaq’s lynching. Contractual jobs have been offered to many residents of Bishahra because it is the NTPC’s policy to give jobs to all project-affected persons based on their qualification and expertise,” an NTPC spokesman had told The Hindu.

Nagar also said that the accused were “innocents” and that they deserved a “better deal”.

The same officials now say no such decision was ever taken.

On October 9, Hindi newspaper Amar Ujala reported on the decision to give jobs to the accused.

The newspaper report in Amar Ujala saying that the decision to give jobs to those accused in the Dadri lynching has been taken. Credit: Twitter

In a tweet thread, Mohammad Ali of The Hindu, who first reported the story in the national press, explained the process by which the news first broke, was confirmed by reporters, and was then denied by NTPC.

Ali adds that even the denial is for national media; on the ground, the 15 men will in fact continue to work for the PSU on a contactual basis:

BJP support from outset

On October 4, 2015, BJP MLA and a Muzaffarnagar riots-accused Sangeet Som had visited Bishahra and had said that he will try to get bail for all accused of killing Akhlaq.

On July 31, the Allahabad high court granted bail to Vishal Rana, son of BJP leader Sanjay Rana and one of the key accused in the case. The 22-year-old was the 14th accussed to be given bail.

After the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh, Sanjay had said people expected that the BJP’s victory would lead to justice in the case.

The body of Ravin Sisodia, one of the accused in the case and who died in a Delhi hospital in October 2016, was wrapped in a national flag by the residents of Bisada. Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma, who represents the Dadri area in the Lok Sabha, was seen paying respects to Sisodia.

Soon after the lynching, Union home minister Rajnath Singh had dismissed the murder as “not communal”, saying that “it should not be politicised.” Another BJP MLA from Dadri, Nawab Singh Nagar, had said the victim’s family was at fault.

Note: The story was updated on October 15, 2017 to include NTPC’s statement that no jobs are being offered to the accused men.