Muslim labourer’s murder in Rajasthan not a ‘love jihad’ case: Naqvi

A day after his funeral, political leaders continued to throng Afrazul Khan’s house in Malda district to express their condolences. Efforts are on to speed up the trial into the alleged hate crime case.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2017 22:06 IST
Sreyasi Pal
Sreyasi Pal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Kolkata
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi,Hate crime,Love jihad
Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has asserted that crimes should not be accorded a religious colour. (Sonu Mehta/ HT File)

Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Saturday said the murder of a Muslim migrant labourer in Rajasthan earlier this week was a “criminal incident” and not a case of “love jihad”, as was being alleged.

Addressing a general body meeting of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation here, the minority affairs minister claimed that “some sick people” were trying to disturb the communal harmony prevailing in society. Crimes should not be clubbed with religion, he asserted.

In Rajasthan, Rajsamand SDM Rajendra Prasad Agarwal gave a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to the wife of Mohammad Afrazul and DGP OP Galhotra met the victim’s family. Galhotra later told reporters that Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje was serious about the case and monitoring the progress of investigation in the matter.

Meanwhile, the murder of Afrazul Khan continued to rock Bengal on Saturday, with leaders of various political parties visiting his residence at Sayedpur village in Malda district to express their condolences.

A few rallies were taken out in Bengal’s Malda and Kolkata to protest Khan’s killing at the hands of Shambhu Lal Regar, an unemployed man, in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district on Wednesday. Bengal director general of police Surajit Kar Purkayastha also spoke to his Rajasthan counterpart, requesting him to ensure the safety of Bengali migrants in the northern state.

Khan’s body had reached his residence on Friday evening. Thousands of people – including political leaders and well-wishers – gathered at the scene until the funeral proceedings were completed.

Regar had repeatedly stabbed Khan before setting his body ablaze. A video recording of the crime, reportedly taken by the accused’s nephew, triggered outrage across the country.

Two ministers from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet – Subhendu Adhikari and Firhad Hakim – and three Trinamool MPs – Saugata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Sudip Bandyopadhyay – visited Khan’s residence on Saturday morning. “We demand exemplary punishment for the culprits, so it will act as a deterrent for future offenders. We will raise the matter in the winter session of Parliament,” said Bandyopadhyay.

“The BJP has ushered in this politics of intolerance in the country,” Hakim said at a rally in Malda.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury and former state president Pradip Bhattacharya also met Khan’s wife and daughters. Local Congress MLA Isha Khan Chowdhury said he has already spoken to Rajsamand superintendent of police Manoj Kumar.

Khan’s daughter Rezina Khatun said the government has promised to put pressure on the Rajasthan government for ensuring a speedy trial in the case. “We are also thankful to the government for arranging widow pension for my mother, Gulbahar Bibi. The administration has handed the necessary papers over to us,” she added.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Dec 09, 2017 19:27 IST