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In one of the most heinous crimes in the recent past, a Muslim labourer, hailing from Malda town in West Bengal, was brutally murdered in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district. The incident took place on Wednesday when Shambhu Lal Regar, allegedly hacked Mohammed Afrazul (48) to death and set his body on fire. What was more shocking was that Regar even roped in his 14-year-old nephew to film the killing.
In one of his videos shot after the murder, Regar “warned Hindu sisters” not to fall into the trap of “love jihad.” He made several inflammatory remarks in the video, and also alleged that history was being “changed” under the influence of Islam, mentioning films like Padmavati and PK as well.
In one clip, he says that Babri Masjid was demolished 25 years ago, but “nothing has happened” in the subsequent years. He also launches a long diatribe about “Islamic jihad” in the country.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed to nab the culprit who was arrested by the Rajasthan Police, only a day after they committed this heinous crime.
Afrazul’s family demands justice
Family of Afrazul, residing in Saiyadpur, 325 kms from Kolkata, demanded that the guilty should be hanged.
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 used to pay a visit to his family back in West Bengal.
“Don’t know why he did this”
Meanwhile, Sita, wife of Regar, has been left with no answers. “I don’t know why he did this… My husband didn’t have a job… Most of the time, he would smoke marijuana and just roam the streets. But I never thought he was capable of murder,” said Sita.
Sita has, however, claimed that Regar, a father of three, was mentally unstable, and they hadn’t heard from him after he left home on Wednesday morning.
Following his arrest, Regar, 36, claimed he had committed the murder because he felt “threatened”. “They ran away with a girl from our colony… I helped her, after which I got death threats. I knew the girl since childhood as her brother used to study with me. They gave me an ultimatum, that I would have to die,” he alleged.
But Afrazul’s cousin, Mohammed Salik Sheikh, denied this. “My brother had nothing to do with any such incident and all these allegations are baseless. He has three daughters back home and was nearing 50. Why would this incident from many years ago be the reason for his death,” he asked.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the killing. In a tweet, she said, “We strongly condemn the heinous killing of a labourer from Bengal in Rajasthan. How can people be so inhuman. Sad.”
Congress’ state president Sachin Pilot said, “It is absolutely horrific and I think it should stir the conscience of people who are running the state… Nobody should be allowed to maim, beat, hurt, kill.”
Civil society outfits and political parties called for Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s resignation over the killing. In a joint statement, the organisations sought the CM’s resignation and a stop to “this culture of hate and violence against Muslims as it will seep into every dimension of our lives and it will be difficult to stop”. They said “the BJP needs to stop giving protection to these killers” and “the RSS hate programme” should be “banned”.
Raje has, however, condemned the killing. “This is a deplorable act which needs to be condemned in strongest possible terms.”