Caste

Nahargarh Fort Hanging Seen By Some as Attempt to Stoke Communal Strains Over ‘Padmavati’

Messages scribbled on stones near the deceased’s body seem to be deliberately crafted to point fingers at the Muslim community.

The body of a 40-year-old local resident, Chetan Saini, was found hanging at Jaipur’s Nahargarh fort. Credit: Twitter/ANI

The body of a 40-year-old local resident, Chetan Saini, was found hanging at Jaipur’s Nahargarh fort. Credit: Twitter/ANI

Jaipur: While the investigation into the alleged murder of the 40-year-old resident of Jaipur identified as Chetan Saini whose body was found hanging from the parapet of the Nahargarh fort on Friday is still on, messages found scribbled on the stones around the site have made the case more suspicious.

Addressed to those protesting against the release of Padmavati, the messages, according to some, seem to be deliberately crafted to point fingers at the Muslim community.

Har kafir ka yeh haal hoga’ (Every infidel will meet the same fate), ‘Jo kafir ko maarega, Allah ko pyara hoga’ (Whoever kills an infidel will be dear to Allah) and ‘Padmavati ka virodh karne walo, hum kile par sirf putlay nahi latkaate. Hum mein hai dum’ (Those opposing Padmavati, we don’t just hand effigies from forts. We have guts) were found scribbled hardly a few steps away from where the deceased’s body was found hanging. The police has wiped out these messages.

“Suspicion on Karni Sena for the murder of Saini is all hypothetical. It’s a matter of investigation. The murder is pre-motivated. Jiska involvement hota hai who thodi iss tarah ki cheez karta hai (Why would anyone who is involved in the murder do something like this),” Giriraj Singh Lotwara, president of the Shree Rajput Sabha, told The Wire.

The police have ruled out the possibility of a murder due to the lack of evidence. Speaking to The Wire, Prafulla Kumar, additional commissioner (crime) said, “Any circumstantial evidence of murder was not found at the site and the post mortem report corroborates death due to ante-mortem hanging. There was no sign of struggle on his body. Even in the CCTV footage, he is seen going alone in a hurry. The family has not pointed to any personal rivalry. All the signs indicate suicide”.

“Nahargarh fort is covered with graffiti. We are yet to establish who scribbled the messages on the stones. Photographic samples have been sent to a forensic science lab to find whether the messages were written by Saini or not. However, the scribbles appear to be written in a confused state of mind,” Kumar added.

The police might call the messages ‘graffiti’ but the possibility of vested interests looking to promote communal polarisation can’t be ignored.

“It appears to be a design to implement the dirty process of polarisation. In fact, there are a lot of things by which caste consciousness along with polarisation can be introduced in the society and the right wing forces are implementing it successfully,” Rajiv Gupta, former professor of sociology at the University of Rajasthan told The Wire.

Messages on stones near the body of the deceased. Credit: YouTube

When asked whether it could be a mere coincidence, the professor said, “It could have been a coincidence if there was just one message, but there were about a dozen messages on the stones and the specific message ‘Hum kile par sirf putlay nahin latkaate’ could either be written after someone saw his dead body or it could have been pre-planned. The police’s version of a man committing suicide at such a height is difficult to believe. Since any history about Chetan is not known, it seems that someone is trying to give it a communal shape.”

The Muslim community has maintained silence over the issue.

“This has been done to turn Muslims and Thakurs against each other. They think hatred would earn them votes but the public is not a fool. People know how these forces change names and faces to facilitate communal polarisation. We believe it is better to stay quiet than let them benefit,” Abdul Lateef Arco, state secretary of the All India Milli Council told The Wire.

Messages on stones near the body of the deceased. Credit: Twitter/ANI

Chetan’s family, who spoke to him just a few hours before he died, is not ready to accept that he committed suicide. They believe it was a pre-planned murder.

“It is impossible for anyone to hang himself from the top of the fort. In the CCTV footage too, he isn’t carrying any rope. He might have been killed because he saw something that he shouldn’t have,” Jagdish Saini, a relative of the deceased told The Wire.

“His death has no connection with Padmavati. In fact, he had no knowledge of its history. But the messages on the stones can’t be ignored. Yes, the walls of the fort are full of scribbles, but those messages appeared to be freshly written,” he added.

“We cannot imagine that he could have committed suicide. He was in a perfect state of mind. He picked up his kids from school, dropped them home before leaving at 3:30 pm. He also called his wife around 5 pm and asked her to keep dinner ready,” said Mahendra Saini, the deceased’s brother-in-law.

“The knot of the rope tied on the two-feet-thick wall was facing towards the chasm. How can a person trying to commit suicide tie the knot that way?,” he questioned.

Nahargarh Fort is one of the most desolated areas of the city and is usually home to anti-social elements.

Graffiti found near the body of the deceased. Credit: Twitter/ANI

Messages on stones found near the body of the deceased. Credit: Twitter/ANI

Meanwhile, the police is trying to cool down the Mali samaj by assuring them of justice on one hand and ‘generating’ reasons for Saini’s suicide on the other.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the Jaipur police to conduct a fair probe and submit the investigation report within five days. On Saturday, when the deceased’s wife tried to report about his murder in the Brahampuri police station and gave details of possible suspects, the deputy commissioner of police assured us that our demands will be taken care of. But now he is giving false statements to the media that he committed suicide and had a lot of debt on his head. They are planning to shut the matter in the name of ‘suicide’ which we will make sure does not happen,” said Om Rajoria, district president of the Mali samaj.

“Chetan’s debt wasn’t too high that he would think of committing suicide. The media is giving out false details,” claimed Mahendra.

One of the scribbled messages also mentions ‘Chetan tantrik maara gaya’ (Chetan tantrik has been killed). ‘Chetan tantrik’ was coincidentally a character in Padmavat and a namesake of the deceased man.

“In Padmavat, Raghav Chetan was a tantrik whom the Chittor king had insulted publicly as his activities were forcing the king to do certain things that he was not interested in. To seek revenge of his insult, Chetan went to Alauddin Khilji and disclosed some crucial facts about the king and spoke about Padmavati’s beauty that attracted Khilji towards her,” said Gupta.

When asked about the connection of this message with the case, Prafulla Kumar, the additional commissioner of police, replied, “Chetan had no connection with tantra-mantra. However, we are told that Chetan tantrik was part of the Padmini story. Some questions still need to be answered.”

Shruti Jain is a Jaipur-based journalist.

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