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Hours before death, murder victim told wife: ‘Ask why (the accused) beat me’

A video of the assault purportedly shows the accused — Aakash alias Diljale, Vishal and Ompal alias Kalua — telling Khan while assaulting him that he is Muslim, while they are Hindus.

Written by Pavneet Singh Chadha | Palwal |
Updated: December 21, 2021 9:24:23 am
The three arrested have confessed to killing Rahul Khan following an altercation in an inebriated state. (Express Photo)

Hours, before he succumbed to his injuries, Rahul Khan (22), had confided in his wife Shaheena that three of his friends had beaten him up, she told The Indian Express on Monday. The accused had tried to mislead the family by telling them Khan had met with an accident.

A video of the assault purportedly shows the accused — Aakash alias Diljale, Vishal and Ompal alias Kalua — telling Khan while assaulting him that he is Muslim, while they are Hindus. Police, however, maintain there is no communal angle to the killing.

“At the hospital in Palwal, he initially told doctors he had been in an accident since the accused had threatened to kill people in his family if he revealed the truth. But later, he told me, ‘Kalua se poocho usne mujhe kyon maara (Ask Kalua why he beat me)’,” she said.

Demanding a thorough investigation, the family Monday said it was clear he was killed because of his religion. “The video clip makes it clear. They can be heard repeating, ‘You are Muslim, we are Hindus’. Police should investigate if it was a hate crime. We demand the strictest punishment. If the video clip had not come out, we would have never known the truth. We initially thought it was an accident,” said his father Chiddi Khan, who retired from a job in the Railways recently.

Investigating officer Ravi Tanvar said: “In their disclosure statement, the accused have only mentioned they were all intoxicated and beat the victim over a fight regarding him hiding a phone. There is no mention of any religious remarks or communal reasons. Investigation does not suggest that the victim was targeted because of religion.”

The victim’s father claimed the accused often coerced him to give them money: “They had asked him for Rs 5,000 recently, but he had refused. They would pressure him to loan them money. Why would he steal someone’s phone; he had an iPhone…”

A 31-second video clip, allegedly uploaded by one of the accused on Instagram, purportedly shows them hitting Khan on his face with what appears to be stick. It purportedly shows Khan, with blood on his face and clothes, collapse after repeated blows, prompting one of the accused to say, “He has died.”

At the family home on Monday, there was a pall of gloom. Relatives said Khan used to repair motorcycles and wanted to set up his own shop in Sarai village, where the family moved a month ago from Hoshangabad village in Palwal.

His mother, Rajjo, said the accused had tortured her son. “When Kalua informed our relative that Rahul had been injured in an accident, I rushed there. His head had three deep wounds, his nails had been pulled, there were cuts on his legs. His upper body was purple and there were marks like he had been burnt with beedis. He was only wearing a t-shirt and he was covered in a blanket, lying on a cot,” she alleged.

“The injuries suggested he had been beaten up, but we naively believed his friends couldn’t have done it. Later, when the video came out, we got to know that he had been murdered,” she said.

She said she has not been able to see the video clip again: “He was my only son. I don’t know how I will live without him.”

Chandhat police station SHO Ram Chander, said claims of the incident being communal were “rumours” being floated on social media: “Our probe has not found anything communal… We will send the clip for forensic analysis.”

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