Neha Hiremath case: Protests in Hubballi demanding capital punishment for accused | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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Neha Hiremath case: Protests in Hubballi demanding capital punishment for accused

By, Bengaluru
Apr 20, 2024 08:09 AM IST

A 24-year-old woman, Neha Hiremath (daughter of Niranjan Hiremath), was allegedly stabbed to death by her acquaintance inside the BVB College campus at Hubballi

Day after the daughter of a Congress corporator was allegedly stabbed to death by her college mate in Hubballi, people took to streets demanding a capital punishment for the accused.

Several organisations and student activists staged protests in the city demanding justice from the 24-year-old woman, who was stabbed to death by her college mate on Thursday. (HT)
Several organisations and student activists staged protests in the city demanding justice from the 24-year-old woman, who was stabbed to death by her college mate on Thursday. (HT)

On Thursday, a 24-year-old woman, Neha Hiremath (daughter of Niranjan Hiremath), was stabbed to death allegedly by her acquaintance inside the BVB College campus at Hubballi. She was a first-year master of computer applications (MCA) student at the college. The accused, identified as 23-year-old Fayaz (who goes by a single name), went inside the college campus with a knife and wearing a mask and stabbed the woman multiple times in chest and neck around 3.30 pm, police said. He is an MCA dropout and a resident of Savadatti in Belagavi district.

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On Friday, several organisations and student activists staged protests in the city demanding justice from the victim. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) led a protest calling for a college bandh in the metro area. Other groups such as the Hindu Jagran forum, Sri Ram Sena, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers staged demonstrations in front of the BVB College, demanding accountability for the crime.

As the student organisations held rallies demanding justice, the police closed off the entire BVB College Road and installed various security measures.

In Belgaum, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists blocked roads at Chennamma Circle, demanding stringent action against Fayaz and criticised the state Congress government’s handling of the incident. Besides, protestors in Raichur sought enhanced security around college campuses and urged for a probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case. In Bengaluru, students gathered to condemn the murder, following which the police detained some as they attempted to block the roads.

Meanwhile, remarks from chief minister Siddaramaiah and state home minister Parameshwara have drawn sharp criticism from the victim’s family.

On Friday, Siddaramaiah convened a meeting with DGP Alok Mohan and city police commissioner B Dayanand for over an hour, instructing them to take stringent steps to prevent crimes. He directed severe action against the accused. Following the meeting, he said, “Neha’s murder happened due to personal reasons. The law and order situation in the state is good, and it is the duty of the government to maintain it, which we will fulfil.”

Speaking to media in Tumakur, Parameshwara said, “Neha’s murder at the BVB Engineering College premises in the city has nothing to do with politics. Neha and the accused Fayaz were in love with each other. Later, she tried to distance herself from Fayaz.” He further said, “Fayaz became angry and committed the murder. There is no evidence of love jihad in this case. If such events occur coincidentally, legal action will be taken against the accused.”

However, the father of the victim, who is also a Congress leader took objections to the statement from the CM. Expressing concerns over the spread of “love jihad”, Niranjan said, “Mothers need to be vigilant regarding their college-going daughters.” He refuted the statements made by the chief minister and home minister and said: “Your statements are misleading and tarnishing the image of my family. I know who my daughter is. My concern is that no girl should be subjected to this kind of trauma. If the home minister’s statement is aimed at appeasing the vote bank, it won’t work out.”

Responding to the incident, Union minister Pralhad Joshi said that it is evident that law and order has deteriorated under the administration of the Congress government.

“Due to the government’s appeasement policy, there is a lack of fear among sociopaths in the state. The Congress government should treat such incidents seriously. I have spoken to corporator Niranjan Hiremath, the father of the deceased young woman. There must be a thorough investigation into this case. An innocent girl has been murdered. Will the state home minister G Parameshwar answer?” he questioned.

“The accused of the murder should be hanged; severe punishment should be meted out,” he said while urging no lawyer to take up the defence of the accused.

The sentiment, however, was not limited to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Gadag district in-charge minister Santhosh Lad condemned the incident while calling it as “highly reprehensible”. “The murder of student Neha Hiremath is highly condemnable; encounter laws (extra-judicial killings by police) should come into force to prevent such heinous acts.’’

Muslim community leaders denounced Neha’s murder and called for swift action against the accused. They urged the police commissioner to take decisive measures. The presidents of Alnavara, Kundagola, Kalaghatagi, Hubli, and Dharwad Anjuman appealed to the commissioner to ensure justice was served by hanging the perpetrator.

Meanwhile, Fayaz’s hometown remained quiet. All shops in Munavalli town in Savadatti taluk of Belgaum district voluntarily closed to condemn Neha’s killing and demonstrate solidarity. To ensure safety, three Karnataka state reserve police (KSRP) teams, one district armed reserve squad, and over 100 policemen were deployed. Police also appointed security personnel at the accused’s residence.

Neha’s body was cremated at Kalburgi Mutt crematorium in Hubballi, adhering to Veerashaiva rituals.

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