A Hindu man was viciously attacked with an iron road and stabbed to death in public by his Muslim wife’s family even as she fought them valiantly in Hyderabad on Wednesday night.
CCTV footage released by the police shows car salesman B Nagaraju (25) and Ashrin Sultana (23) on a motorcycle when two men waylay them near Mandal Revenue Office, Saroornagar, around 8.45 pm.
One of the men attacks Nagaraju with an iron rod and as the couple falls to the ground, the other man stabs him multiple times with Sultana trying to stop them, The Indian Express reported. While Nagaraju died on the spot, Ashrin was rushed to a hospital by passers-by and is reportedly stable.
Sultana has identified the man in a blue shirt she is seen fighting off in the security footage as her elder brother and the other attacker as her brother-in-law, the police said. Sultana alleged there were five attackers.
Shockingly, several persons in the crowd, which doesn’t rescue the couple initially, are seen recording the crime on their cell phones, the footage shows, NDTV reported. As Nagaraju lies dead with his head reduced to a pulp, Sultana cries for help. Finally, the witnesses chase the attackers off.
“They killed my husband in the middle of the street. Five people attacked. My brother and others. There was nobody to help us. I begged everyone. They killed him in front of my eyes,” a shocked Sultana told reporters, according to NDTV.
“Why did people come if they couldn’t do anything? They only watched. It happened before their eyes. Someone was being killed. Couldn’t people see? I fell on him so I could save him. But they pushed me away. They hit him with iron rods and smashed his head.”
Two members of Sultana’s family have been arrested while her elder brother Mubin Syed and brother-in-law Masood Ahmed, caught on CCTVs, are absconding, assistant commissioner of police Sridhar Reddy told The Indian Express. The police used the CCTV footage to find out that the attackers allegedly watched the couple’s movements for, at least, two days before the attack.
According to the police, Nagaraju, who belonged to Marpally, and Sultana, from Ghanapur, in Telangana’s Vikarabad district, were in a relationship for several years.
Sultana’s family was opposed to the marriage because Nagaraju was Hindu and belonged to the Dalit Mala community, the police said. He was even willing to convert to Islam but the family never accepted the relationship, she told the police, The Hindu reported.
Subsequently, Sultana left her house on January 30 and got married to Nagaraju at Arya Samaj, Lal Darwaza, the next day. On February 1, her family lodged a missing person’s complaint, The Indian Express reported. On the same day, the couple, along with their friends, met the superintendent of police of Vikarabad district and told him that they were adults and had willingly married.
Fearing for their lives, Nagaraju’s family approached the Mominpet police station, which counselled Sultana’s family with her father and mother agreeing not to interfere in the couple’s lives.
However, after Sultana’a family allegedly threatened the couple, they moved to Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, the police said. A week ago, they moved into rented accommodation at Panjala Anil Kumar Colony, Hyderabad, nearly 100 km away from Marpally.
When asked if Nagaraju’s family had filed a complaint about the couple being threatened by the woman’s family, Reddy said, “It is part of the investigation.”
A weeping Sultana, who had changed her name to Pallavi after marriage, told reporters that she had tried to stay away from Nagaraju earlier. “I told him if I don’t marry you, I won’t marry anyone else. Before our marriage, I didn’t speak to him for two months so I could just die.”
The gruesome killing has sparked tension in the Saroornagar area of Hyderabad. Local BJP activists have launched protests demanding tough action.
Nagaraju’s sister B Ramadevi told The Indian Express that her brother and Sultana knew each other since they were 10-11-years old. “They even went to college together. Both of them fell in love around five years ago. After her family got to know about their relationship, they barred her from going out of the house. Even after their marriage in January, they received threats from Ashrin’s family. He was the sole breadwinner of our family,” she said.
“We filed a complaint with the police on the life threats from the girl’s family. Due to police negligence, I lost my brother,” Ramadevi told news agency ANI.
Nagaraju’s friend Talari Daniah said Syed “had sworn revenge and the couple was very frightened of him”. “Nagaraju was a very caring and loving person. He was concerned about Ashrin’s safety. Everyday before going to work, he would drop her off at his sister’s house in Saroornagar. On Wednesday night, he had picked up Ashrin and they were returning to their rented house when they were attacked.”
As Nagaraju’s body was brought to the village, protesting villagers called it a hate crime. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) condemned the killing as a “religiously motivated hate crime”. BJP MLA T Raja Singh demanded a probe to find out if more people are involved in the murder. “There should be an investigation to find out if only the family members were involved or was there a religious group that advised the family?” he said, The Indian Express reported.