A Muslim labourer from West Bengal was hacked and burnt to death in Rajasthan with the killer, who roped in his 14-year old nephew to film the gruesome act, warning “those who commit love jihad would meet the same fate.”
The person killed has been identified as Afrazul, hailing from Tezpur area of West Bengal, police said. Earlier, police had identified him as Mohammed Bhatta Sheikh. Afrazul, father of three girls was scheduled to get back home later this month to arrange for the wedding of his youngest daughter, his family said.
Police arrested the perpetrator of the crime, Shambunath Raigar, and detained his nephew after video of the gruesome act was uploaded on social media.
The video went viral as the police were conducting their investigations.
The video shows the perpetrator, with a saffron teeka on his head, hitting the man with an agricultural tool, and then pouring kerosene on his body and burning him alive. Raigar is seen warning that those indulging in ‘love jihad’ will meet the same fate.
In another video, which also went viral, Raigar is seen justifying the act as an endeavour to save a girl from ‘love jihad’— a term a term used by Hindutva groups to refer to Muslim men marrying Hindu women.
A RSS-affiliated group recently announced its plan to marry off Muslim girls to Hindu men as part of its ‘beti bachao, bahu laao’ (save daughters, bring daughters-in-law) campaign to counter “love jihad.”
In a similar move, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had, a week before, threatened that they will send Bajrang Dal youths to attract Muslim girls, if Muslims do not stop ‘Love Jihad.’
“Muslims must stop love jihad, otherwise we will send our youths from the Bajrang Dal to attract Muslim girls. We are not opposed to love but our girls think Shah Rukh and Shirish are the same or Salman and Sunil are the same, but they don’t know that Hindu boys marry only once and the others will marry several times,” VHP leader Gopal had said at three-day convocation of Hindu leaders and mutt heads in Karnatka.
Meanwhile, several rights groups in India demanded the resignation of Rajasthan chief minister and home minister for failing to prevent a series of hate crimes targeting Muslims.
Pointing out that the Muslim labourer’s killing is the fourth such incident in nine months in the state, the rights groups in a statement said, “Although the police have arrested the murderer and the nephew who had shot the video, but it is important to reach the people who motivated him to carry out this murder”.
In April this year, Pehlu Khan was stopped and assaulted by self-styled cow vigilantes for “illegally” transporting cattle, even after they told them they had the required permit. Pehlu, along with five other men who were beaten, was admitted to a district hospital where he died two days later.
Two months later, Zafar Hussein was killed after he objected to officials photographing women defecating in the open.
In November, Umair Khan and his colleagues were transporting cows when they were killed by gau rakshaks.
The statement has also demanded that the BJP stop giving protection to the killers. In September, the Rajasthan police had given a clean chit to the six people Pehlu Khan had named before he died.
(Featured photo: A screengrab of Shambhulal Regar who hacked and burnt to death Afrazul (inset) in Rajasthan/ Indian Express)