Police have denied any link between the killing of a Bajrang Dal leader and his employee, and the attack on a Muslim councillor in Ratlam, but said an attempt was made to incite communal tension by connecting the two incidents.
The officials also said they were searching for main suspect Hyder and his associate Rizwan for plotting the murder of Kapil Rathod, 25, the right-wing activist. Hyder is believed to be related to councillor Yasmin Sherani, who was shot at near Ratlam Municipal Corporation office.
Rathod, who owned a restaurant near the bus stand in Ratlam, and his employee Rukhraj Paliwal were attacked a group of masked men carrying country-made pistols and at least one knife on Saturday, hours after unidentified assailants targeted Sherani, who is a Congress leader. The attack on the councillor had resulted in violent protests by her supporters.
Ratlam SP Ashish Kumar told The Indian Express that taking advantage of the charged atmosphere, Hyder, who wanted to settle a score with Rathod, planned the murder and made the incident to look like a retaliatory attack.
The two incidents were not related, but an attempt was made to whip up communal feelings, he said, adding, the police were yet to find those involved in the attack on the councillor.
Meanwhile, curfew which was imposed in the town on Saturday after violent incidents has been gradually relaxed. The local administration had to issue passes for Rathod’s funeral on Sunday and the local BJP legislator was reportedly heckled by Bajrang Dal activists as he reached the crematorium. The five persons arrested on Monday in connection with the twin murders have been identified as Musaif, 24, Nasir, 26, Yahya, 29, Jahir, 26, and Asif alias Musa, 26. The accused were identified from a CCTV footage and the police have recovered a two-wheeler, a firearm and a knife so far.
A year ago, a police complaint was lodged against Hyder at the instance of Kapil after an altercation. The details about the altercation are yet to emerge, but Hyder held grudge against the right-wing activist, who was active in the campaign against cow slaughter. Pukhraj was killed when he tried to intervene.