Family members of Afrazul Khan (47), who was brutally killed in Rajasthan and a video of his killing circulated on social media, are in disbelief. “Those who killed him like an animal and showed his pictures to the world should be hanged,” they demand, alleging that there is a conspiracy.
A Muslim labourer hailing from Malda in West Bengal, Afrazul was hacked and then burnt alive over an alleged affair. The main accused, Shambhulal Regar, even roped in his 14-year-old nephew to film the killing. On Thursday, police arrested Regar and detained his nephew. Rajasthan DGP, O P Galhotra, while speaking to reporters, said: “This is a brutal crime. Prima facie it does not look like this is done by a normal human being.”
At Afrazul’s home in Saiyadpur, over 325 kms from Kolkata, relatives have gathered in mourning soon after they received a call from the Rajasthan Police. “We want those who killed my husband so brutally and showed it to the world be hanged. I want Insaaf (justice). He was only killed because he was a Muslim. Yesterday, at around 3 pm, we received a call from Rajasthan Police and were told that my husband has been murdered,” said Gul Bahar Bibi, speaking to The Indian Express over the phone.
“We even spoke to him on Tuesday. He calls us everyday. We do not know what love jihad is. He has grandchildren. They butchered my father like animals before setting him on fire. I want those who did that to suffer in the same manner. I have seen the video and the cries of my helpless father while he was being killed,” said Rejina Khatun daughter of the victim.
Afrazul, father of three girls was scheduled to get back home later this month to arrange for the wedding of his youngest daughter. According to family members, for the past 12 years, Afrazul has been working as an unskilled labourer in Rajasthan. Every two months he returns home. He has a small plot of land which is not enough to fend for his family.
“There is a conspiracy and big people are involved. What can a labourer do? The manner in which the crime is highlighted on social media shows that there is a deep conspiracy and big people are involved. We have relatives in Rajasthan who are at the police station now,” said Zeenat Khan, the Afrazul’s niece.
After the news broke, villagers poured into the home of the victim, waiting for the body to be brought back so that the final rites can be completed. Many are in disbelief. They say they knew Afrazul was a god-fearing man. “I have known him for years. There is no bad record in his name here. He was a gentleman and a god-fearing person,” said Jewel Choudhury, the victim’s neighbor. Another neighbour, Ibrahim Sheikh expressed concern about the future of his children. “Now who will run the family. His youngest daughter studies in class ten. He is the only earning member of the family and very poor,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also expressed her shock. “We strongly condemn the heinous killing of a labourer from Bengal in Rajasthan. How can people be so inhuman? Sad,” she tweeted.