Ballabgarh lynching: Hang Junaid’s killer, demands family
The 32-year-old man from Haryana’s Palwal district, whose identity cannot be revealed because of legal reasons, was caught after a fortnight-long hunt and produced before a Faridabad court on Sunday.india Updated: Jul 09, 2017 20:41 IST
The suspected knifeman in the murder of teenager Junaid Khan on a suburban train in Ballabgarh worked as a private guard in New Delhi and was looking for a job in Maharashtra’s Dhule, where he was hiding after the June 22 attack.
The 32-year-old man from Haryana’s Palwal district, whose identity cannot be revealed because of legal reasons, was caught after a fortnight-long hunt and produced before a Faridabad court on Sunday. He was remanded in police custody for two days.
The news of his arrest delighted Junaid’s family, which want the killer to be sent to the gallows.
“I appeal to the authorities to pronounce the death penalty for the accused and arrest the remaining people involved in the case. Such incidents are happening every day in every part of the nation. We are living in fear,” said Junaid’s father Jalaluddin Khan.
The boy’s mother too demanded the capital punishment.
“My son was innocent. I lost him as no one came to his rescue. Exemplary punishment should be given to all the accused, but the man who stabbed Junaid should be hanged,” she said.
The muscular man of medium height was part of a lynch mob that attacked 16-year-old Junaid, his two brothers – Mohammad Hashim and Shaqir Khan — and cousin Mobin after an altercation over seats on the Mathura-bound train. The brothers were returning to their Ballabgarh home after Eid shopping in New Delhi.
The mob called them “beef-eaters” and “anti-nationals”, and flung their skullcaps off their heads.
It was the latest in a string of fatal attacks on Muslims. Junaid’s murder triggered national outrage and protests as it became the latest example of growing religious intolerance in India.
Police said the main suspect stayed at his home for at least three days after the attack and went to Mathura, Vrindavan and Dhule to evade arrest. He was caught near a temple in the Sakre township on Saturday.
“He had visited relatives in Sakre before and even worked there for some time,” an officer said.
The man has allegedly confessed during interrogation to have killed Junaid.
He was carrying a knife he had bought at Shivaji market in the Capital, railway police superintendent Kamal Deep Goyal said.
“The accused got down at Asaoti railway station and fled on a motorcycle. Two men were on the bike but the biker, who is not an acquaintance, gave him a lift.”
Footage from surveillance cameras near the railway station helped catch the suspect, besides the sketch made from Hashim’s description of the knifeman. It was not an easy case to crack as thousands of people travel between New Delhi and Mathura every day on suburban trains.
Police are trying to find the knife, a crucial piece of evidence that the suspect is said to have thrown away after the attack.
Goyal said the fight that triggered the fatal attack was initially between the Khan brothers and a man called Rameshwar, who was among the five people arrested earlier for the murder. Fellow passengers joined the brawl soon after and the crowd swelled.
The officer, however, gave the benefit of doubt to the brothers’ allegation that the crowd called them beef-eaters or if the banned meat has anything to do with the attack.
“We have been saying from Day One that there was no issue of beef on the train. The complainant also didn’t mention it in the FIR. The accused denied the charge. The bone of contention was the seat,” the police superintendent said.
(With agency inputs)