Bhiwani Killings: Hindutva Outfits Lend Support to Accused, 'Warn' Police Against Arrests

As reports emerged that Rajasthan Police would arrest Monu Manesar and other accused in the case, a Hindu Mahapanchayat was convened in Manesar to protest against the "targeting of innocent Gau Rakshaks".

New Delhi: A ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’ was called by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in support of Monu Manesar – a cow vigilante, who calls himself a Gau Rakshak, and is accused in the killing of Rajasthan residents Junaid and Nasir recently – in the Manesar town of Haryana on Tuesday, February 21. Speakers at the event dared Rajasthan Police to arrest Manesar and others accused in the case.

Amidst reports that Rajasthan Police may proceed to Haryana to arrest the accused, those present at the Mahapanchayat warned the Rajasthan government and Police of “dire consequences” if they were to arrest the accused.

According to Devendra Singh, one of the Mahapanchayat organisers, “Rajasthan’s Congress government wants to frame Monu Manesar, who is innocent. They don’t want to arrest cow smugglers, so they want to imprison Monu and other innocents. We will not allow this to happen. We want the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to investigate this matter, and we do not trust the Rajasthan government.”

He further added, “We will continue to call for Panchayats and rallies until the Centre intervenes because Monu and others are only gau rakshaks (cow protectors).”

“If Rajasthan police set feet in Manesar to arrest Monu, they will not return on the same feet. If Monu is arrested, we will block the highway. Giraftarian denge, jail choti pad jayegi (we will get arrested en masse and fill their jails),” said Neelam, a member of Gau Raksha Dal from Pataudi, according to Indian Express.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA Aftab Ahmed raised the issue on the floor of the Haryana Assembly and sought immediate action against Manesar and others accused in the case.

Also read: In Junaid and Nasir’s Rajasthan Village, Stunned Silence Has Given Way to Anger, Fear

“Minorities in Haryana feel distressed after what happened recently with two Muslim men in Bhiwani. This is not the first time that Muslim men have been attacked in Haryana. Currently, Haryana ranks last in citizen protection out of all the states. I feel that the state government is supporting these cow vigilantes,” Aftab Ahmed said in the Vidhan Sabha.

Hindustan Times reported that a first information report (FIR) was registered against 30-40 Rajasthan cops by Haryana Police. The FIR registered in Nuh alleged that “30-40 people wearing Rajasthan Police uniform and civil attire stormed into the home of complainant Dulari and assaulted the women in the house”.

Progress in the case

A video has surfaced of Gopalgarh Station House Officer Ram Naresh Meena sharing gruesome details of the killing and burning of Nasir and Junaid, in Haryana’s Bhiwani by a group of cow vigilantes. In the video, he revealed the role of cow vigilantes on camera.

Junaid and Nasir, two residents of Rajasthan’s Ghatmeeka village, left home on February 14 morning in a Bolero car to visit a relative. They never returned. The families alleged that members of the Bajrang Dal had killed Junaid and Nasir, and approached the police. Both of them were found burnt alive. 

The burnt vehicle in which the charred bodies of Junaid and Nasir were found: By Special Arrangement

Some villagers from Ghatmeeka village told The Wire that they fear their turn will come soon, and the government would try to silence them by offering compensation. “Is money everything?” they ask. 

A first information report (FIR) was filed in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, based on a complaint filed by Junaid’s cousin Ismail.

Rajasthan SHO Ram Naresh Meena can be seen in the viral video recounting the same story that the villagers told The Wire. “Monu lives near the incident site,” he added. One of the accused, Rinku Saini, also gave a similar statement to the police. The Rajasthan Police are currently searching for other suspects in Haryana.

Killings condemned 

Brinda Karat and Amra Ram of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) released a statement denouncing the savage murders of Junaid and Nasir, who were allegedly abducted, assaulted, and burned alive by members of the Bajrang Dal Gau Rakshak gang.

The CPI(M) team visited the families of the victims and demanded that the perpetrators be apprehended as well as the families be provided with compensation and employment support.

Junaid’s relatives and neighbours mourn in Ghatmeeka. Photo: The Wire

The statement noted allegations of “cow smuggling” made against Junaid and Nasir were “inaccurate” and stems from a wrong portrayal of Muslim dairy producers and livestock traders. The Rajasthani government was urged by the CPI(M) to act decisively and look into the Rajasthan police’s involvement in the issue. 

Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) also visited the village of Ghatmeeka. Speaking to the media, he said, “This is not about Junaid and Nasir; we all must condemn what happened to these two innocent men.” He also sought to know why the Prime Minister is “silent” on the issue, and also demanded an answer from chief minister Ashok Gehlot as to when would his government arrest the accused.

Dr. Meraj Hussain, a member of the Congress party, resigned on Tuesday, February 21, from the party after visiting Ghatmeeka. Speaking to The Wire, he stated, “It’s been five days, and my party is silent on this matter. I didn’t see any tweets from Rahul and Priyanka. I saw how the government arrested Kanhaiya Lal’s murderer within hours in Udaipur, yet Pehlu Khan’s murderers are still roaming free in Rajasthan.” He announced that he would send his resignation to Congress president Malikarjun Kharge. 

Gehlot tweeted that he met with the families of Junaid and Nasir a few days back and that Rajasthan Police is making all-out efforts to provide justice to the victims of this heinous crime, and that justice will be ensured.

Edited by Vikram Mukka