Shambulal Regar, the 36-year-old who murdered migrant labourer Mohammed Afrazul and circulated videos of the killing, referred to a woman he called his “Hindu sister who he had tried to save from love jihad”. That woman has said she has nothing to do with the man.
“In 2010, I went to West Bengal with one Mohammed Bablu Sheikh who was a resident of Syedpur in Malda. We lived there for more than two years. I returned to Rajasthan in 2013 on my own. It’s a lie that Regar brought me back,” the woman told The Indian Express on Friday on the condition that she would not be named. The woman, now 20, lives with her mother and brother.
“A little while after my stay in Malda, I contacted my mother. It was at this time that Regar volunteered to bring me back and also took Rs 10,000 from my mother. He visited me at Malda and wanted me to come with him but I refused to go, he didn’t rescue me,” said the woman. She said that she told Regar she would return “by herself.” She added that she knew Regar as he was from the same community and had also tied a rakhi on him.
“It’s absolutely wrong to say that he murdered Afrazul because of this incident in my life. Regar knew Bengali contractors and labourers in Rajsamand because until establishing his marble business, he worked as a labourer,” said the woman.
The family members of Regar had earlier said that Sheikh’s associates were threatening him for “rescuing” the woman. The woman said that she hadn’t kept in touch with Bablu Sheikh since she left him. “Some time back, Regar came home with injuries on his face and said that he was attacked by associates of the man with whom the woman had gone to West Bengal,” said a neighbour of Regar.
However, the woman denied this. She added that her statement has also been recorded by the police. “I have never heard that he was getting threats from Bengali contractors. I am worried at these false claims that I had anything to do with all this,” said the woman.
The police presented Regar at the court Friday and he was sent to three-day police custody.
“We are investigating these claims about Regar bringing back a woman from West Bengal but so far haven’t found any evidence of any such event. We also haven’t found any police complaints filed about this incident,” said Manoj Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Rajsamand.
Meanwhile, in Syedpur, Malda, villager Ibrahim Sheikh said: “The girl from Rajasthan came here with Bablu Sheikh. They claimed they were in love, there was no reason for us to suspect anything. She spent nearly two years with Bablu’s family and then decided to go back home because she did not like it here. As far as we know, she went back on her own,” added Ibrahim.
“My husband did not marry anyone else. Why should he? If he had married someone in Rajasthan, we would know since our relatives stay there with him,” said Gul Bahar Bibi, wife of Afrazul. “He was a soft-spoken person who had no enemies. He never threatened or even shouted at anyone.”
Asked about Bablu Sheikh and the woman, the victim’s neighbour Jewel Choudhury said: “What has that got to do with Afrazul? He was a good man with wife, children and grand children.”