New Delhi: Three activists of the right wing Hindu Yuva Vahini were arrested for allegedly bludgeoning to death a 45-year-old Muslim man in village Sohi under Pahasu police station in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh on May 2, police said.
Mohammad allegedly helped a relative elope with a Hindu girl, prompting the murderous attack by vigilantes.
The Hindu Yuva Vahini is the militant organisation founded and led by Yogi Adityanath, now the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
For the past few years, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliated organisations have carried out a systematic propaganda campaign alleging the existence of a Muslim plot to seduce and convert Hindu girls. Termed ‘Love Jihad’, the campaign has been used to foster a sense of insecurity amongst Hindus and make ordinary Hindus suspicious against Muslims.
According to additional district magistrate (ADM) Arvind Kumar Mishra a 19-year-old man named Yusuf from Sohi village eloped with an 18-year-old Hindu girl, a resident of village Fazalpur, also in the Pahasu area, on April 27. After the couple eloped, the girl’s family, upset by her relationship with a Muslim man, lodged a kidnapping complaint against Yusuf at the Pahasu police state, the Hindu reported.
Mohammad, thought to be either a relative of Yusuf’s or his neighbour according to differing accounts, was suspected of helping Yusuf. He was allegedly attacked in an orchard by a group of men soon after the elopement.
Vijay Prakash, the circle officer at Shikarpur narrated the sequence of events for the Indian Express:
“Ghulam’s son Yaseen has alleged that while he was walking towards their orchard to meet his father, he saw Gavendra Singh — a resident of their village — and six others leaving the orchard on motorcycles… He claimed that when he entered the orchard, he found his father lying injured. He raised an alarm and locals rushed Ghulam to the hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead on arrival”.
Yaseen then filed an FIR against Singh and the six unnamed men for murdering his father, leading to the arrests on May 2.
According to senior superintendent of police Muniraj G., those arrested are activists of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and were picked up on Tuesday night from Pahasu town. However, he also said, “We are trying to verify if Ghulam Mohammad’s murder has any connection to the case of abduction of a girl lodged against Yusuf of Sohi village.”
Police officials however refused to disclose the names of the arrested persons and even contradicted statements from other police personnel. “So far, the police have not found any evidence indicating the involvement of HYV members in the murder,” the deputy inspector general of Meerut range, K. S. Emmanuel told the Indian Express.
The right wing group’s members have denied any connection to the murder.
Sunil Raghav, the district head of the Hindu Yuva Vahini denied any of the organisation’s members were involved in the incident.
Vivek Singh, the man in charge of the group’s operations in Meerut told the Hindu, “Seven persons reportedly attacked the deceased but not a single person belonged to the Hindu Yuva Vahini”.
Bulandshahr’s superintendent of police Man Singh Chauhan told the Hindu, “We have formed teams to nab the culprits. We have identified some suspects. We are conducting raids to nab them”.
The Hindu reported that the incident has sparked communal tension in the area and Chauhan told the paper, “To avoid any untoward incident, we have deployed a strong police force in the area.”
According to Dainik Jagran, Hindu residents and shopkeepers in Zahriabad, another town in Bulandshahr district, staged a dharna to demand police action in another case of elopement of a Hindu girl with a Muslim boy.
(With PTI inputs)