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Communalism

Haryana: Muslim Man Beaten to Death by Friends, Family Alleges Communal Angle

While the accused initially told the victim's family that he had been killed in a road accident, a video subsequently surfaced of the accused beating him with weapons and allegedly saying that he was Muslim while his attackers were Hindu.

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New Delhi: A 22-year-old man was beaten to death in Haryana’s Palwal on Tuesday, December 14 by three men who were reportedly his friends, the Indian Express reported. While the accused had initially alleged that Rahul Khan, the victim, had died in a road accident, a video which was sent to the family after his death showed him being beaten and has led the family and authorities to suspect a communal angle behind the killing.

On the basis of the video, police have arrested the three friends: Aakash (alias DIljale), Vishal and Kalua, all residents of Rasoolpur village, who now remain in custody.

According to the victim’s father, Chiddi Khan, the accused picked Rahul up from his house on the morning of December 14 to take him to a wedding in Hoshangabad. At 6 pm, Chiddi Khan claimed to have received a phone call from the accused telling him that his son had been injured in a road accident.

However, the district superintendent of police (DSP) Yashpal Khatana said that, after they returned to Rasoolpur, an argument ensued where Kalua blamed Rahul for hiding his phone while they were drinking. When the phone was allegedly found to be in Rahul’s possession, the accused started beating him with rods and other weapons.

Rahul was subsequently taken to a canal where he was beaten further and where the purported video was shot by Aakash.

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Rahul’s brother-in-law, Akram Khan told Indian Express that when he arrived at Kalua’s house after being told about the supposed road accident, the victim was barely conscious, his head was crushed and he had injuries on his arms and legs. Akram and the accused thus took him to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

At the hospital, Rahul allegedly told his sister, Razia, that he had been beaten up. She also alleged that, since her father’s retirement from the Indian Railways in April this year, the accused had been demanding more and more money from Rahul, the Hindustan Times reported.

On the morning of December 15, Rahul’s family supposedly received the video, which had also been uploaded to social media, which showed him being beaten and in which the accused can allegedly be heard saying Rahul was a Muslim and they (the accused) were Hindus, leading the family to allege a communal angle.

The police had initially registered an FIR, on the basis of the family’s complaint, on charges under IPC Sections 279 (rash driving) and 304 (a) (death caused by negligence) but after the video surfaced and the post-mortem analysis revealed all of the victim’s injuries, they added charges of murder and arrested Rahul’s friends.

The police recovered the phone on which the video was shot and found out, during the interrogation, that Aakash had shot the video and shared it on social media to show that he did not participate in the beating; it was supposedly meant to exonerate him. Aakash can allegedly be heard in the video telling Kalua not to beat the victim.

After Rahul collapses in the video, his friends can allegedly be heard remarking that he has died.

According to the police, the video has been sent for forensic analysis and if a communal angle is discovered, the relevant charges would be added to the FIR.