Hindu partner’s kin got Muslim man decapitated
The police have arrested 10 people for the murder of a 24-year-old Muslim man whose decapitated body was found 10 days ago by a railway track in Karnataka’s Belagavi district. Among the arrested are the parents of a woman with whom he was in a relationship.
The Police confirmed that the murder was a hate crime and the parents of the girl gave a contract to murder the 24-year-old, to the leader of a right-wing religious organization with the objective of preventing their daughter from marrying a Muslim.
Police first registered a case of unnatural death when Arbaz Mullah’s body was found on September 28. Later, a murder case was filed on the basis of his post-mortem report and the nature of injuries to his head.
The Belagavi Police said the woman’s parents, Eerappa and Susheela Kumbhar, and Maharaja Nagappa alias Pundalik Mutgekar, a member of Sri Ram Sene Hindustan, are the prime suspects in the murder. Two other suspects in custody, Praveena Shankara and Shreedhara Mahadeva Doney, were relatives of the parents and part of the conspiracy to murder Mullah.
According to police officials in Belagavi, the murder and disposal of the body were carried out by Maruti Pralhad Sugathe, Manjunatha Thukaram Gondali, Ganapathi Jnaneshwara Sugathe, Prashanth Kallappa Patil, and Qutubuddin, five other suspects in police custody.
“On the day of the murder, they called the victim to a location. They stabbed him to death. They later dismembered the body and dropped it by the railway track to show that it was an accidental death,” said Belagavi (rural) SP Laxman Nimbargi.
A senior officer in Belagavi police, who was part of the investigation, said that Mullah and the girl were in a relationship for more than four years. Even though both families objected to the relationship the two continued to see each other. “The woman’s family decided to take the extreme step when a marriage proposal came for her. The woman was adamant and didn’t agree to the proposal. Then, the parents and two relatives approached Mutgekar,” said the officer.
Police said the parents met Pundalik Mutgekar multiple times. When Mullah refused to end the relationship, Mutgekar allegedly hired five contract killers to kill Mullah on September 28 and dispose the body.
The arrests come after Mullah’s family complained about the delay in the investigation. In her complaint to the police, the deceased’s mother, Nazeema Mohammad Sheikh, alleged that her son, who was a car dealer, was killed by the family and relatives of a Hindu woman with whom he was in a relationship. Sheikh claimed the two families were aware of the relationship and also alleged the role of two members of a Hindu right-wing group in the murder.
The officer cited above said that even though the mother had named the girl’s father and Mutgekar in the FIR, police conducted a thorough investigation before making the arrests. “A large part of the investigation was technical analysis and we tracked several mobile phones to identify the attackers. We were able to establish the connection between the girl’s parents and Mutgekar during the investigation, and it led us to the hired killers as well,” added this person.
The suspects have been booked under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence ), 341 (wrongful restraint), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 384 (extortion ), and 149 (unlawful assembly).
Sri Ram Sene Hindustan chief Ramakant Konduskar earlier distanced his organization from the alleged murder, saying its members were being targeted for “being Hindutva workers”. “Our members don’t indulge in murder. We do charity work. The men who have been arrested acted on their own,” he said.
The family of the deceased was not available for comment.