6 arrested for killing Muslim man amid communal tension

Updated on Aug 03, 2022 02:19 AM IST

Six people have been arrested in Karnataka’s Mangaluru in connection with the murder of a 23-year-old Muslim man at Surathkal in the Dakshina Kannada district on July 28, two days after the killing of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary Praveen Nettaru, police said.

Puttur: Police personnel conduct a march past in Puttur, Mangaluru, Thursday, July 28, 2022. Tension prevailed in Puttur and other talukas of Dakshina Kannada district following the murder of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) member Praveen, who was hacked to death on Tuesday evening, July 26, by unidentified people on a bike. (PTI)
Puttur: Police personnel conduct a march past in Puttur, Mangaluru, Thursday, July 28, 2022. Tension prevailed in Puttur and other talukas of Dakshina Kannada district following the murder of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) member Praveen, who was hacked to death on Tuesday evening, July 26, by unidentified people on a bike. (PTI)
By, Bengaluru

Six people have been arrested in Karnataka’s Mangaluru in connection with the murder of a 23-year-old Muslim man at Surathkal in the Dakshina Kannada district on July 28, two days after the killing of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary Praveen Nettaru, police said.

Mangaluru police commissioner, N Shashi Kumar, said the six people came together with the aim of “killing someone” at the earliest and planned Mohammed Fazil’s murder for three days. Responding to a question on whether Fazil was hacked to death in retaliation for Nettaru’s killing, Kumar said further interrogation was required to ascertain that.

However, two investigators speaking on the condition of anonymity said that the murder was indeed retaliation and that they had a potential list of targets, all Muslims. “Four arrested men were from Surathkal and they knew Fazil. So, his name was suggested. The other people on the list of potential targets too were from also one community.” They added that the killers eventually settled on Fazil because he was an easy target. “They finalised Fazil’s name for logistical reasons. They wanted to kill someone at the earliest,” said one of the two officers.

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The six men are believed to belong to a right wing group, but Kumar said this and the motive could be confirmed only after further questioning.

Police said the six, Suhas Shetty, 29, Mohan Singh, 26, Giridhar, 23, Abhishek, 21, Shrinivas, 23, and Deekshith, 21, have been involved in several crimes in the past. Citing preliminary investigation, police said the accused were planning to kill Fazil since July 26.

“The six people did not know each other, but they came to know each through common friends. Suhas called his friend Abhishek and had a long discussion with him. He told Abhishek that by the evening of July 26, they should murder someone. They decided to gather more people and weapons,” said Kumar.

He added that Suhas Shetty met Abhishek on July 26 (the day BJP Yuva Morcha activist Praveen Nettaru was murdered) and shared his plan to murder someone.

On July 27, Shetty met Giridhar at a hotel in Surathkal, where he shared the plan with him and said that he had weapons and needed vehicles and manpower. Giridhar called Mohan who agreed to organise a car. “On July 27, Mohan got a car from Ajith Crasta who was assured of 15,000 in three days if their plan was successful,” said the commissioner.

They did not proceed with the task on July 27 as three of the accused did not turn up for a planned meeting.

“On July 28, Suhas left early in the morning with weapons to Bantwal’s Karinjeshwar temple, while three other accused had to appear in court. They had a discussion near the court where Fazil’s name was finalised as the target…” Kumar said.

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In the evening, all six left in the car. They made three rounds of the garment shop where Fazil was. Shetty got out of the vehicle along with Mohan and Abhishek and hacked Fazil to death. “ Suhas, Mohan and Abhishek were the assailants, Giridhar was driving the car, Deekshith was seated in the car, while Srinivas tried to protect the accused from the public during the murder. The six accused then escaped towards Palimar. They abandoned the car and escaped in another car to a hideout,” the commissioner said.

All six were arrested on Tuesday morning at Udyavar. The accused were produced before the court and remanded to 14-day police custody.

Kumar said Shetty is an accused in a murder and three other criminal cases, while Mohan, Giridhar and Abhishek are accused in two criminal cases each. Shrinivas is accused in four criminal cases while Deekshit is accused in three criminal cases.

Kumar ruled out reports that the killers targetted Fazil by mistake. He also said news reports that Fazil was in a relationship with a girl from another Muslim sect and was murdered on account of that, were false.

Reacting to the arrests, Fazil’s father said he still doesn’t why his son was murdered. “I still haven’t understood why my son was killed. He was not part of any political party. They have arrested (some) people; the toughest punishment should be given to them. These organisations (political organisations) are the problem. We don’t need them, our children should not be killed in the name of politics,” said Umar Farooq.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

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