A court in Uttar Pradesh on Monday deferred the hearing of the Mohammed Akhlaq lynching case till July 4 as a witness could not testify before it, PTI reported.

On September 28, 2015, a mob had killed Akhlaq in the Bisada village in the Gautam Buddh Nagar district on the suspicion that he had stored beef. The killing was among several incidents that had sparked protests later that year about rising intolerance and vigilante violence.

On Monday, Akhlaq’s daughter Shaista could not depose before a fast-track court due to a lack of security, the family’s lawyer Yusuf Saifi said. Police personnel in the district were engaged in law and order duties on account of the Bharat Bandh called to protest the Centre’s Agnipath scheme, he said.

Shaista had begun recording her statement on June 14 before fast-track court judge Anil Kumar Singh. She was slated to continue her deposition on June 17, but could not do so as police officers were engaged in law and order duties on that day as well. On Monday, the case was deferred for the second time.

On June 14, Saifi had said that Shaista had “corroborated the sequence of events since she was present at the time of the incident”, according to The Indian Express. Akhlaq’s wife Ikraman and mother Asgari are also slated to give their statements before the court.

The case was transferred to a fast-track court in April 2016. All 19 accused men in the case are currently out on bail.

Sixteen accused men were seen in an election rally in Bisara that was addressed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath in March 2019.