Two men affiliated to fringe Hindu outfits red-flagged by police are among six arrested in Patna for the murder of a teenager whose body was found on December 31 — 10 days after he was last seen participating in an RJD protest against the CAA and NRC with a Tricolour in his hand.
Police said that Nagesh Samrat (23) of the Hindu Putra Sangathan and Vikas Kumar (21) of the Hindu Samaj Sangathan have been charged in the murder of Amir Hanzla (18), a worker at a bag stitching unit, in the Phulwari Sharif area.
Rafiqur Rahman, in-charge, Phulwari Sharif police station, told The Indian Express: “Our investigation shows that Amir Hanzla tried to leave the spot after police used force to disperse a violent mob. Amir was then held by some boys in the Sangat Gali area. The post-mortem report shows that bricks and other blunt objects were used to kill him. There were head injuries and marks of two cuts on the body. A lot of blood had deposited in the abdominal area suggesting internal bleeding.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Hanzla’s father Sohail Ahmed said it was the first time his son had taken part in any protest. “What was his fault? He was holding a Tricolour,” said Ahmed, who is associated with Tablighi Jamaat, a socio-cultural body.
Police have confirmed that Hindu Putra Sangathan is among 19 organisations about which the Bihar Police Special Branch had sought to obtain details of offices and office-bearers in an official communication last May.
The others arrested in the Hanzla murder case are Deepak Mahto, Chhotu Mahto, Sanoj Mahto alias Dhelwa, and Rais Paswan, who have been described by police as “known criminals”. Police said it was from Deepak, Chhotu and Sanoj that they came to know about the location of Hanzla’s body.
The police are also investigating the role of Samrat and Kumar in instigating violence against the protesters through videos on Facebook Live before the opposition RJD’s bandh call and protest.
“These two youths were among the main instigators behind the communal tension during the protest on December 21,” said Rahman, the police station in-charge, adding that the charges against the two also includes criminal conspiracy.
One of the videos shows Kumar accusing the police of “torturing Hindus” and calling for “all Hindu sons” to “come to Phulwari Sharif”. In another video, Samrat declares himself as the “son of a Hindu” and that he has “reached Phulwari”.
“We will question the top functionaries of these two organisations. There has been a trend of such groups mobilising crowds from outside. These two boys are not from Patna. There had been similar mobilisation of crowds during communal tension three years ago. We are gathering more corroborative evidence. We have a strong case,” said Rahman.
According to Hanzla’s family, he started working in the stitching unit after discontinuing studies following his Class 10 board exams.
Opinion | Anarchy, ours and theirs
“He had left for work on his bicycle on December 21. But his unit was shut because of the bandh, and he joined the RJD protest march. Video footage shows him carrying the Tricolour. His family last spoke to him at 11.45 am and his final location before his mobile phone was switched off was near the Phulwari Sharif block office. It was from this area that his highly decomposed body was found,” said Rahman, the station in-charge.
Mohammed Imran Bukhari, chairman, All India Muslim Council, said: “Such is the rancour among such fringe groups that they write Phulwari Shri in place of Phulwari Sharif. Everyone knows Sangat Gali is the hub of activities of such Hindu organisations. Unless the main conspirators are arrested, nothing would happen.”
Hanzla’s father, who had lodged a missing complaint for his son on the night of December 21, said the family hails from Darbhanga and has been living in the Haroon Nagar area of Phulwari Sharif for the last eight years in a rented house.
“Amir was fourth among my six sons. The eldest son is a teacher at a madarsa in Madhubani, the other four are studying,” said Ahmed. “The administration should deal with the distrust between two communities. I have lost my son. This should not happen to others.”
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