The Allahabad High Court on Friday granted immunity from arrest to the family of Mohammad Akhlaque in the alleged cow slaughter case till the conclusion of the investigation. Akhlaque was lynched by his neighbours in Bishahra village in Dadri last September over rumours of having eaten beef.

“The petitioner shall not be arrested till the conclusion of investigation under section 173 sub clause 2, of the code of criminal procedure,” said the bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Prabhat Chandra Tripathi.

Farman Ahmad Naqvi, the lawyer of Akhlaque’s family told The Hindu that this was the interim relief.

“This is the interim relief the court granted to us. We had requested for quashing of the FIR lodged in July 15, as well as stay on arrest till the conclusion of investigation,” Mr. Naqvi said.

But the court did not grant relief to Jan Mohammad, the brother of Mohammad Akhlaque, who is also an accused in the alleged case of cow slaughter.

Villagers of Bishahra had gotten an FIR registered against Akhlaque’s family after a government forensic report claimed that the meat seized from the spot of Akhlaque’s lynching was beef. The forensic report contradicted the earlier report which declared the meat to be mutton. Cow slaughter is banned in UP inviting prison term of upto two years.

Akhlaque’s family members, however, maintained that they did not slaughter any cow and the meat was changed under a conspiracy to polarise the State six months ahead of the Assembly polls.

“My father was killed over rumours about beef. We did not kill any cow. The meat which was declared to be first mutton and then later beef, was not collected from our fridge but from the place near the transformer where my father was lynched. I am not saying this but the police seizure memo says this. Now everybody can judge for themselves what is going on,” said Danish, younger son of Akhlaque who was brutally assaulted by the lynching mob. Danish, a key witness in Akhlaque’s murder case was critically injured in the attack and survived after two major brain surgeries.