Updated: May 6, 2022 10:38:21 am
An interfaith couple was attacked at a busy crossing in Hyderabad Wednesday night, leaving the man dead. Police have arrested two people from the woman’s family, while her brother and brother-in-law, who allegedly carried out the attack, are absconding.
B Nagaraju, 25, and his wife Ashrin Sultana, 23, were on a motorcycle when around 8.45 pm, they were waylaid near Mandal Revenue Office at Saroornagar in Hyderabad by two people, allegedly her relatives, who attacked them with an iron rod. As the couple fell to the ground, the attackers took out a knife and stabbed Nagaraju multiple times, leading to his death. His wife Ashrin, who was rushed to a hospital by passersby, is reportedly stable.
CCTV footage released by police shows Ashrin fighting off the attackers. She told police that she recognised her elder brother who stabbed Nagaraju and that even though she shouted for help, no one came to their rescue. Visuals show Ashrin fighting off a man in a blue shirt, whom she identified as her brother. It was only then that a few bystanders rushed in to help, after which the two assailants fled.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Sridhar Reddy said the woman’s brother Mubin Syed and her brother-in-law Masood Ahmed, who allegedly carried out the attack, are absconding.
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Police said Nagaraju and Ashrin belong to Marpally village in Telangana’s Vikarabad district and were in a relationship for many years.
Ashrin told the police that her family was opposed to the marriage not only because Nagaraju was Hindu but also because he belonged to the Dalit Mala community. After her family turned down Nagaraju’s proposal to marry her, Ashrin told police that she left her house on January 30 and got married to Nagaraju at an Arya Samaj temple the next day. On February 1, her family lodged a missing person’s complaint.
The same day, friends of the couple took them to meet the Superintendent of Police of Vikarabad district, where Nagaraju and Ashrin said they are adults and had willingly got married. As they feared for his life, Nagaraju’s family approached the Mominpet police station, which called Ashrin’s family and counselled them, following which her father and mother agreed not to interfere in the couple’s lives.
Since they were allegedly facing threats from the woman’s family, the couple moved to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, police said. It was only a week ago that they moved to Hyderabad, nearly 100 km away from their village Marpally, and moved into a rented space. Nagaraju had started working as a salesman at a four-wheeler showroom in the city.
Nagaraju sister B Ramadevi said her brother and Ashrin have known each other since they were 10-11 years old. “They even went to college together. Both of them fell in love some five years ago. After her family got to know about their relationship, they barred her from going out of the house. Even after their marriage in January, they received threats from Ashrin’s family. We informed police but they did not take any action. He was the sole breadwinner of our family,’’ she said.
When asked if Nagaraju’s family had filed a complaint about being threatened by the woman’s family, ACP Reddy said, “It is part of investigation”.
Nagaraju’s friend Talari Daniah said the couple were very much in love but they also knew they were not safe. “The woman’s elder brother Mubin Syed had sworn revenge and the couple was very frightened of him. Nagaraju was a very caring and loving person. He was concerned about Ashrin’s safety so every day while he went to work, he would drop her off at his sister’s house in Saroornagar. On Wednesday night, he had picked up Ashrin and they were returning to their rented house in Brundavan Colony when they were attacked,’’ said Daniah.
Police said they used CCTV footage to find out that two relatives of the woman, including her brother, allegedly kept a watch on the couple’s movements for at least two days before they were attacked Wednesday night.
As Nagaraju’s body was brought to the village, residents of Marpally village held protests, calling it a hate crime.
The BJP issued a statement condemning the killing as a “religiously motivated hate crime”. BJP MLA T Raja Singh called for a probe to find out if more people are involved in the murder. “There should be an investigation to find out if only the family members were involved or was there a religious group that advised the family?” he said.
Nagaraju was cremated in the village Thursday evening amidst heavy police presence.
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