Bihar: Family Alleges Khalil was Killed for Eating Beef, Demands High-level Probe
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Reuters
Patna: Amid reports of a communal angle behind the killing of Khalil Alam, a local leader belonging to Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United, last week, his family has on Thursday demanded justice and a high-level inquiry monitored by the Patna High Court.
Khalil Alam, in his mid-30s, was allegedly kidnapped and killed, and his half burnt, and the police found his buried body in Samastipur district. A day after this, a video clip on social media purportedly showed how he was threatened, abused, and mercilessly beaten by the accused for eating beef and forcibly asked to disclose the local beef trade. The video has given the incident a new twist, but the district police denied it.
Khalil, a resident of Musrigharari in Samastipur, used to run an NGO and was an active JD-U leader locally and considered close to Bihar Education Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary.
"We don't know why he was kidnapped and murdered. We want a high-level probe into it to know the exact cause behind why and how he was killed. The government should provide us with compensation," said Nemat Khatoon, wife of Khalil.
Nemat, the mother of three minor children, including one toddler, also sought the intervention of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as her husband was a local leader of his party. "In a video on social media, with folded hands, my husband first claimed he had not eaten beef but after being mindlessly beaten, he was forced to say he had eaten beef. He was even asked to loudly say that he would never consume beef from now. Only a probe will reveal the reality behind it as to why he was killed by the accused," she said.
Nemat said that after her husband went missing, she had received three phone calls demanding money for his safe release, it was informed to the local police station.
Mohammad Sitare, elder brother of Khalil, said it appeared that the police had so far failed to investigate the matter in the right direction. "If he was killed for beef consumption as a viral video claims, they should come out with real facts and should not hide anything," he said.
Sitare said his brother had nothing to do with the beef trade; he was associated with an ayurvedic firm for his livelihood.
Khalil's younger brother, Mohammad Shakeel, said the family was still grieving over his killing. "What can we say? The accused have the guts to post such a video, asking him to reveal who slaughter cattle and sells beef locally. It is the responsibility of the government to look into whether Khalil was lynched by cow vigilantes or the cause behind his killing," he said.
Shakeel blamed the local police for the delay in taking their complaint seriously. "We had lodged a complaint of the disappearance of Khalil on February 17, a day after he did not return home from the market. Police on February 18 detained a suspected accused, and on the basis of the information given by him, Khalil's body was found on February 19. It was buried on the bank of the Burhi Gandak river."
Samastipur Superintendent of Police, Hriday Kant, repeatedly claimed over the last three days that Khalil's killing was related to money and not cow vigilantes. "A video was deliberately shot by the accused and posted to divert the case and give it a communal colour," he said.
The police have arrested three accused, including Krishna Kumar Jha, and sent them to jail.
However, the opposition attacked the NDA government led by Nitish Kumar for killing Khalil in the name of beef-eating. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, the opposition leader in the state Assembly, said the latest incident had exposed the total collapse of law and order. "Who is safe if a Muslim youth, who is a leader of the ruling party JD(U), was beaten, burnt alive and buried. Kumar should tell us why such incidents keep happening in the state," Yadav said.
Congress MLA Shakeel Ahmad Khan on Thursday visited Khalil's family and demanded justice for them. "After I've met the victim's family, I will raise the issue in Bihar assembly on the first day of the budget session. No less than the chief minister should issue a statement against growing hatred in the state and countrywide," Khan said.
Khan added that the video was an example of the hatred angle in the incident. If it was a money related case, how come cattle slaughter, beef, and its consumption surfaced, he posed the quetion.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) termed Khalil's murder as a "mob lynching" and demanded a judicial probe into the incident. "We demanded a judicial probe into the killing of Khalil, who has become a victim of mob lynching," said CPI(ML) leader of the legislative party, Mahboob Alam.
The CPI(ML) will take out a 'nyay' (justice) march on February 28 against the incident. The party's team led by Mahboob Alam visited Khalil's family on Wednesday and said CM Nitish Kumar had failed to save a Muslim leader of his party from mob lynching.
Ironically, even though Khalil belonged to the ruling party, senior JD-U leaders were silent on his killing, except for ritual condemnation by a few of them.
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