New Delhi: Bajrang Dal leader Monu Manesar – accused of the double murder of two Muslim men in Haryana on cow smuggling suspicions in mid-February – was arrested by Haryana Police on September 13.
His custody was later handed over to Rajasthan Police. For seven months, Rajasthan Police had been unsuccessful in apprehending Manesar.
According to news reports, he was arrested by special investigation officers of the Haryana Police probing the communal violence in Nuh.
The ordeal of Junaid and Nasir’s families
The families of Junaid and Nasir had been waiting for justice for seven long months in Rajasthan’s Ghatmeeka. The two men were allegedly attacked and abducted by a mob that later set them ablaze, alive in a car.
“When one of my children who was a few months old needed the support of her father to stand on her feet, her father was burnt alive. I want Monu, who has taken many lives, to be hanged till death,” Sajida, Junaid’s wife, told The Wire.
Manesar is one of the 21 accused in Junaid and Nasir’s killing. Nasir’s brother, Hamid, told The Wire, “We are very happy today that Monu has finally been arrested by the police.”
“I also saw the Bharatpur SP’s (superintendent of police) comment on his arrest, and when his custody was transferred to the Rajasthan Police, I informed Nasir’s family and his wife,” he added.
A month ago, while addressing a press conference, Rajasthan Director General of Police (DGP), Umesh Mishra, had said, “I would like to inform you that there is no direct involvement of Monu (Manesar) in this incident. His role is still being investigated in the background.”
When asked about his views on the involvement of Monu Manesar in this case, Hamid alleged: “I saw the charge-sheet. Monu is involved in our brother’s killing. …The charge-sheet has proof from his WhatsApp chat to call details, and he was directly involved in that [the murder].”
Separately, chief minister Ashok Gehlot had alleged that when Rajasthan Police had gone to Haryana to arrest the accused in the double murder case, it received no cooperation from the police there.
What all changed for the families in these seven months
Junaid was the sole breadwinner for two families: his own and his brother Jafar. While Jafar’s family consists of seven children, Junaid’s family has six. All of them depended on Junaid.
“Earlier, our children used to go to school, but now how will I send them to school? I have no money and no source of earning. I had to take them out of school, and now they are studying in madrasa. I wish I could send them back to school,” said Sajida.
Junaid’s eldest daughter, who is 12 years old, has been unwell and bed-ridden since she heard the news of Junaid’s killing.
The families of Junaid and Nasir are still afraid to go out. They say they live in fear of getting attacked by Manesar’s gang.
Zahida Khan, the education minister of Rajasthan, had promised a compensation of Rs 20.5 lakh each for both Junaid and Nasir’s families. However, the families told The Wire they are yet to receive Rs 15 lakh from the minister.
Speaking to The Wire, Deeg SP said, “Monu was part of the conspiracy to kill Junaid and Nasir. He had been in touch with the first accused we arrested, Rinku Saini, through messages. He had the details of Junaid and Nasir’s mobile numbers and their vehicle’s number days before their deaths.”
Earlier, Ghatmeeka was in the Bharatpur district, but now, following the Rajasthan government’s announcement of 17 new districts, it falls under the Deeg district.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad has expressed disappointment over Manesar’s arrest. In a tweet, the right-wing outfit said, “Innocent cow devotee Monu Manesar has been arrested by Rajasthan Police, whereas some time ago, Rajasthan Police had considered him innocent. Cow devotee Monu has been arrested for the Muslim vote bank in the elections. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad will help cow devotee Monu Manesar in every way, and if necessary, [we] will also protest.”