A SECRET group reportedly run by an accused in a Bengaluru bomb blast case is a suspect in the murder of a Tamil Nadu atheist and Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam activist, H Farook. The 31-year-old, who made his living as a daily wage labourer, was hacked to death in Coimbatore on Thursday midnight, 15 days after he posted a photo of one of his children holding a placard with the handwritten slogan “Kadavul illai, Kadavul illai, Kadavul illai (No God, No God, No God)”. A small-time real estate agent from Podnaur near Coimbatore, M Ansradh (31), surrendered before a local magistrate court confessing to the murder. But police believe it was carried out by a gang of four, and orchestrated from inside the prison by the Bengaluru bomb blast accused. Sources said police are looking for the bomb blast accused’s brother-in-law Saddam Hussain, himself a murder accused, and a relative, Shamsuddin, for links to Farook’s murder.
Police haven’t given out the name of the blast accused, and said they didn’t know the name of the group that allegedly carried out the murder, but claimed that most of its members “were part of some banned radical groups a decade ago”. Police believe the bomb blast accused is the mentor of the group and controlled it through his followers. They said the group had been issuing threats to Farook for his atheist stand as well as targeting similar Muslim youths “who had deviated from the faith”.
“Farook had received warnings earlier from the group, asking him to stay away from ‘ridiculing’ God and religion,” said a senior officer. Coimbatore Deputy Commissioner of Police S Saravanan said they had formed special teams to nab the culprits.
The DVK is a breakaway faction of rationalist Periyar’s Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) party. Farook posted his child’s photo with the placard in a WhatsApp group called ‘No God’, administered by him, that propagates atheism. He put up the photo on his child’s birthday.
Police said Farook was attacked when he stepped out of his house after receiving a call on Thursday midnight. “A gang of four people chased and hacked him to death. He had deep injuries on his stomach and neck. Although local residents who rushed to the spot tried to catch the assailants, they managed to escape,” said the officer.
“A vocal Periyar follower who propagated atheism and rationalistic values, Farook used to receive threat calls from radical groups whenever he posted something against God or religion in WhatsApp group or on his Facebook. He ignored those threats,” said the officer.
A friend of Farook who knew him through DVK activities said it was Periyar’s ideology that made him an atheist and an activist against caste. “As an activist, he had attended agitations and meetings of the DVK in other parts of Tamil Nadu,” he said.
In one of his last posts on Facebook on March 13 night, Farook said his views had made him an enemy of many. To all those who objected, he said, “I am an enemy of God, enemy of religion, enemy of caste and enemy of all blind beliefs. But I am not an enemy of humans who believe in humanity.”
Last November, Farook was among those who resisted mob violence in Ukkadam, a Muslim-dominated area where he lived, while Hindu Munnani men were taking out a funeral procession of their spokesperson C Sasikumar, who had been murdered.
A police officer said Farook had attacked a police vehicle that day along with others and had been arrested under the Goonda Act.
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