Tension prevailed in the aftermath of a 51-year-old businessman’s murder in West Delhi, with around 50 police personnel being deployed to ensure communal harmony, and the victim’s family and local resident welfare association (RWA) insisting that police conduct criminal background checks of migrants.
The incident took place Sunday morning when the victim and his daughter were returning home from Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital.
A man and his three sons, two of whom are juveniles, allegedly passed lewd comments at the woman, prompting the victim to confront them. In the heated exchange, one of the accused allegedly stabbed the businessman, who later died at a hospital. They also allegedly stabbed his son, who rushed to the businessman’s rescue. The four accused were nabbed and charged under sections of murder and outraging the modesty of a woman.
The murder initially took a communal turn when it was found that the four accused named in the FIR were from a minority community. A tweet by the BJP Yuva Morcha secretary of the locality, who is also a relative of the victim, targetted the accused on the basis of their religion.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Monika Bhardwaj said, “We arrested two persons and sent them to 14-day judicial custody, and detained two juveniles who were sent to a correction home. The main accused’s wife and daughter have joined questioning. We also recovered the knife used in the murder. The businessman’s 19-year-old son underwent surgery and is critical.”
The accused had been living in a flat owned by the victim’s cousin for the past five years and were paying Rs 3,500 as rent. They had come from Bihar and settled in Delhi 15 years ago. While the main accused is a labourer, his son is a rickshaw puller, and his wife and daughter are domestic helps. The daughter, police said, worked at the victim’s house.
Their landlord said, “If they are released, I will ask them to vacate the house.” Fearing backlash, police Tuesday deployed around 50 policemen in the area.
Riyaz Ahmad (32), who had tried to save the businessman and his son on Sunday, helped defuse the tension. “These people are my family. My mother needed blood once and their family donated. We celebrate festivals together,” he told The Indian Express.
As he sipped tea along with the victim’s family on Tuesday, they spoke about the “issue” of migrants. “Our name is respected. We go back over 200 years is this village. How can an outsider kill a man from our community? We do not want them (migrants) to leave, but those with criminal records must vacate,” said the victim’s uncle.
Locals and family members also claimed they would organise a meeting to discuss the issue.
The local RWA claimed it has written 13 complaints to Delhi Police, MCD and the L-G’s office between 2015 and 2018, claiming that many street vendors were not from the area and indulged in illegal activities.
“Under the garb of selling vegetables, they sell… tobacco and even whiskey to poor and young children in the area… When you confront them, it turns into incidents of rage and shedding of blood,” read a complaint sent to the West district DCP on September 24, 2018.
Local RWA president Narender Tyagi claimed they had sent the complaint, even as police claimed they were unaware of it. Police said they had also conducted a migrant survey in the locality in the past. A police officer explained, “The maximum number of people living here are tenants… Since the area has several ceiling fan factories and electronic goods units, many migrants live here as the rent is low.”
Meanwhile, the family described the victim as a problem solver, who would help people settle disputes. Every morning, he would drop his daughter to the Metro and accompany her on visits to the local market. His family said he was saving up money to send his younger daughter to Canada.
Kejriwal condemns incident: Police must take strong action
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded strict action against those who killed a businessman in West Delhi, after he allegedly objected to comments made by some residents against his daughter. “Delhi Police must take strongest action against the guilty,” he tweeted.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, meanwhile, alleged that “political forces were trying to give the incident a communal colour. Singh, who visited the victim’s family along with area MLA Girish Soni, said, “It was an unfortunate incident and religion must not be brought into it. Some political forces are trying to give a religious colour to the incident, but that is unacceptable.”
Congress Lok Sabha candidate from West Delhi, Mahabal Mishra, also met the family. “It’s a very unfortunate incident and police should arrest the remaining accused,” he said. The Delhi Commission For Women issued a notice to police seeking details of investigation. However, the BJP, which is in opposition in Delhi, hit out at Kejriwal for his alleged “silence”.
Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta said, “Will they speak only if they see some political advantage in reacting or they do not want to react as the accused belongs to a particular community and it will adversely affect their vote bank?”
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari condemned the incident and demanded action against “goondaism and urban naxalism”.
“The father protested to uphold the dignity of his daughter. A brave son did his duty towards his family. Goondaism and urban naxalism have no place in our society. We should all come together and condemn it. Culprits should be punished through a fast track court,” he said. (Express News Service)