Shraddha Murder Case Turns Communal, Right-Wingers Term it Love Jihad
The ghastly murder of Shraddha Walkar (26) by her live-in partner Aftab Ameen Poonawala (28) in Chattarpur, Delhi, is increasingly assuming a communal colour with some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and thousands of Twitter users terming it a case of ‘Love Jihad’ and part of a larger “conspiracy” by Muslim youths to target Hindu women.
Poonawala admitted to strangling Walkar, chopping her body into 35 pieces, storing them in a 300 litre refrigerator and dumping them in the Mehrauli forest at 2 am for 18 days, according to the police. They fell in love while working in Mumbai and came to Delhi by April-end or May first week after their families opposed the relationship, the police added.
Walkar’s father Vikas Madan Walker, who suspects a Love Jihad angle as well and has demanded the death penalty for Poonawala, told Hindustan Times that he was opposed to the relationship because of their religion while Poonawala’s father Amin feared that their relationship would become a communal issue.
Poonawala’s religion has been seized upon by right-wing leaders to paint the murder as a conspiracy by Muslim youths.
“Shraddha is not the only one; lakhs of Shraddhas in India have been martyred under a big conspiracy. Such incidents are taking place in India and you all know how girls were taken hostage in Pakistan in the middle of the wedding rituals—, even from Gurudwaras daughters were taken away,” rural development and Panchayati Raj minister Giriraj Singh told reporters at the BJP party office in Patna on Tuesday.
“Under a conspiracy, non-Muslims and Hindu girls are being targeted through love affairs and if they refuse religious conversion, they face the fate that Shraddha faced. This is a heinous crime and such incidents have forced the people of India to think,” the Lok Sabha member from Bihar’s Begusarai added.
Mumbai BJP MLA Ram Kadam wrote a letter to Delhi Police commissioner Sanjay Arora on Wednesday seeking a probe into the possible Love Jihad angle
Kadam and his supporters raised slogans against Poonawala in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar suburb on Tuesday. “Are there any groups or gangs behind such an incident? Is an enemy state involved in it? It should be probed,” he told reporters adding that “similar incidents have taken place earlier”.
Kadam asked the Delhi police to “dig deep and find out who are these people scheming and trying to entrap our youth and what is the motive for brainwashing our youth and if this has got anything to do with our enemy nations”.
During a Times Now debate, Kadam asked that “what’s wrong in probing the Love Jihad angle” adding that he is “only asking justice for Shraddha”.
The VHP, which wants the murder to be probed as a case of Love Jihad, said that it would pressure the Centre to introduce a law against “illegal” religious conversions.
“Love jihad has become an organised crime. The misadventure of Jihad leads you to do all this. Love Jihad and Jihad have wider ramifications. In this particular case, the man strangled the girl as she was pressing for marriage,” VHP working president Alok Kumar told The Print.
Terming the murder as the “rarest of rare case” and demanding it be heard by an exclusive special court to fast-track it, Kumar said, “We will do all that is required and will also ask the police to act in a swift manner and probe all angles, including that of Love Jihad.”
Hoping for capital punishment in the case, Kumar said, “If the matter is not dealt with speedily and the trial goes on, for say 10 years, the person fades from public memory and so does the issue. We hope the police will file the challan soon and the matter will be pursued in a fast-track court.”
Kumar added that the VHP shares the Supreme Court’s concern that forced religious conversions might “affect the security of the nation”. A Bench of Justices MR Shah and Hima Kohli had observed on Monday that the “alleged conversion of religion” … is a very serious issue which may ultimately affect the security of the nation as well as the freedom of religion and conscience of the citizens”.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who publicly spoke out in a rally against anti-CAA protesters in the presence of the police a few hours before the North East Delhi riots on February 23, 2020, tweeted: “#LoveJihad is real, sad part is our police, judiciary, politics and media are against our daughters. Everyday in every city of India, our daughters are being killed due to Love Jihad.”
In another tweet, Mishra held “fake” brotherhood [between Hindus and Muslims] portrayed in Hindi movies and advertisements and “false” secularism responsible for Sharddha’s murder.
Major Surendra Poonia, an international sportsman and a former Special Forces officer tweeted: “Barbaric
Shraddha eloped with boyfriend Aftab Amin..He CHOPPED her in to 35 pieces, stored in a Fridge, disposed 2/3 body parts a time all over Delhi. Wake up Girls #LoveJihad is a one way ticket to death Now Librus will save him by saying Every ‘chopper’ has a future!”
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit termed murder as a case of Love Jihad. “The #Khaalas of #UrbanNaxals like @khanumarfa & so called fraud women rights activists are silent on the gruesome murder and rape of #Shraddha by #Aftab. Not that one expected them to react. #LoveJihad,” he tweeted.
The Congress shot back saying that the BJP should not “communalise” the murder. All India Mahila Congress president Netta D’souza said that the “BJP must not politicise or communalise” the murder”. “A criminal is a criminal. Therefore, they should not be let off … Criminals should be hanged to death so that no one can contemplate such an action again.”
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