Two video clips that were posted on WhatsApp by the killer went viral in no time. The murderer was very much confident in his gruesome act. No one knows why, and you cannot imagine the inhumanness that Afrazul had gone through just because of his religion, a daily wage labourer from West Bengal’s Malda.
Shambhu Nath Raigar, who was wearing a red shirt and white trousers, is seen leading Afrazul to a spot. The labourer may have been led to believe he was there for a job. Shambhu Lal follows him and suddenly attacks him repeatedly with a weapon. Loud wailing and screams for help are heard as the video becomes increasingly difficult to watch. It is shocking how he killed the man and made a video of it.
When the victim falls silent, Shambhu Lal looks into the camera and launches into a deranged hate speech, declaring that he killed to save a woman from ‘love jihad’. Police found a motorcycle, scooty, axe, bottle of petrol and a half-burnt Aadhaar card on the spot. However, Afrazul’s identity remained unknown till the video surfaced on social media. In the video, Raigar is seen striking Afrazul with an axe, dousing him with petrol and setting him ablaze before fleeing the scene. In the video, Afrazul was seen crying for help even as Raigar attacks him with an axe and then burns him alive. Raigar had allegedly brought along a friend with him to record the video of the incident. The accused said to have taken the victim to the spot in his agricultural farm on pretext of work. In the video, there is also a long speech on ‘love Jihad’ and patriotism. There was another video of Raigar, in which he admitted to committing the crime and mentioned that he will surrender. The Rajasthan government set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the killing and to find out if there was any communal angle to it.
There is no fear of law here, no fear of police… there is no government. We must set an example where people must fear that there is a government that will set certain rules. There is a large Rajasthani community living in West Bengal for centuries. Such incidents may provoke backlash from large Muslim community in West Bengal. Before resorting to violence, people need to think what will be the consequences of their actions. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
‘Love jihad’ is the monster created by local Sangh Parivar leaders, the raising of an outlandish conspiracy by Muslims to seduce Hindu girls and turn India into an Islamic state. Union Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan was recorded making these fantastic claims in a sting operation run by Cobrapost and Gulail as part of an investigation into the allegations of ‘love jihad’ that Hindu right-wing organisations have been raising in states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. The year-long investigation by the two web portals also captured several important leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishva Hindu Parishad speaking about their role in stoking fears about ‘love jihad’.
Many leaders of the BJP and affiliated outfits, some of them implicated in recent communal riots, have been caught on camera detailing their methods for splitting up inter-religious couples. The reporters conclude that the sangh’s ‘love jihad’ operations evidently have “sanction from the very top” level of the BJP and RSS. This not only explains the pan-India reach of the campaign, which is being run all the way from Uttar Pradesh to Karnataka and Kerala, but also the “eerily similar” narrative around which the ‘love jihad’ propaganda is built.
Another BJP leader, Kairana MP Hukum Singh – who was accused of rioting in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli – shared Malik’s views, the report said. He complained about how Hindus gave too much freedom to their daughters, while Muslims were becoming more and more conservative. Advocating moral policing as a solution to ‘love jihad’, Singh said. Union Minister of State for Agriculture Balyan, claimed that ‘love jihad’ was part of a deliberate attempt to change the country’s demography. Incidentally, Balyan too was accused of inciting people to not cooperate with investigations in the Muzaffarnagar rape cases and of giving a communal colour to events preceding the riots.
Another firebrand BJP leader and MLA, Sangeet Som, when asked how he persuades a Hindu girl who has married a Muslim man to return to her parents, said, “We make her see the reason that this is not good for her. We tell her that they are Muslims, they never settle for one woman, whereas a Hindu boy will be automatically sent to jail if he does so. Most importantly, we exert on her emotionally that her mother will die, her father will die and brother might even commit suicide as he would not be able to face the society.”
One of factors that consistently emerge in the investigation is the misuse of the legal system to target inter-religious couples. Detailing some of the methods used in the campaign, the report talks of how right-wing groups slap fabricated cases of rape and kidnapping on innocent Muslim men and use force on ‘uncooperative’ Hindu women who have married Muslim men to make them toe their line and give false testimonies against their husbands. Apart from exposing the communal mindset of those involved, their own admission is evidence of how they have broken the law at several levels. ‘Love Jihad’ is nothing but the Modus Operandi, it’s a political tool and it’s a medium to express and spread hatred. The vandalism and communal clashes in the country are the result of “love jihad” allegations brought against a Muslim man by right-wing groups. Love jihad, Hindu groups have frequently claimed in the past, is an institutional practice among Muslims where men of the community are trained to woo Hindu women and convert them to Islam. In recent years, it has been used to break up numerous inter-religious unions and to harass and even kill those involved in such marriages.
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