It was sad and shocking to hear that a Muslim man from West Bengal had been murdered on the suspicion of ‘love jihad’. The murderer also asked his 14-year-old nephew to record the crime on camera. Later on, the video was circulated on the internet by the killer himself in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district.
The murderer has been arrested now. According to a Times Now news report, the half-charred body was identified as that of Mohammed Bhatta Sheikh, who reportedly hailed from Malda. And the man seen as the attacker in the video had been identified as Rajsamand resident Shambunath Raigar.
On other hand, according to a report by the Indian Express, Shambhulal Regar was the 36-year-old who murdered migrant labourer Mohammed Afrazul. Regar circulated videos of the killing and referred to a woman present in the video as his “Hindu sister who he had tried to save from love jihad.” The woman has denied any such thing as true. She added that her statement has also been recorded by the police.
This is supposed to be a democratic nation where people’s voices matter and it’s about time people spoke up against such inhuman acts of cruelty. However, I would also like to add that you do not need to watch this video. Many of us do not want to see it. A man deliberately kills a person and he doesn’t even have a trace of shame on his face.
It is an ongoing investigation and very little can be said with certainty about the murder. But we must prevent this madness in the name of ‘love jihad’ because nobody is safe from this.
Such crimes pose a very stiff challenge in a democratic society. They may be isolated; they may be the handiwork of individuals acting on their own, but by positioning one group (religious, racial, ethnic, gender) against another, the impact of these crimes spills into the wider community. It is very unfortunate but there is a gradually growing climate of hate. There is only one way to counter it – with a clear, unambiguous consensus against hate.
I would like to add that most of us are peace loving and we don’t want somebody to be brutally killed. Here also, before we raise our voices in anger against the killer, we should ask ourselves this – are we all partly to blame for abetting hate crimes in our nation? Did the large narrative around intolerance, hate and divisive politics between religions cost this labourer his life?
There is only one solution going forward – whenever there is a hate crime that targets any community, that crime should be punished in a far stricter manner than any other crime. This may be the only way to shut this phenomenon down.
We also need to make sure that we continue to be a country that can co-exist through love and peace not through cruelty and hate crimes. It is also true that if the society itself is infected with such hate, there’s very little the police can do. So, we should wake up, break our silence, and speak out against such barbaric acts. We need to maintain peace and harmony in society. Only then can “Sab ka sath, sab ka vikaas” be a reality.