Tensions flare as 'lovers' found dead in UP's Saharanpur
Tensions flared up in a village in the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh following the death of a Muslim youth and a 19-year-old woman, who were classmates, within a span of 10 hours this week. The youth was allegedly bulldozed to death by the family of the Hindu woman, who died by "suicide" hours later as her body was found hanging inside her house.
Why does this story matter?
- The incident has the potential to create communal tensions in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state as the Muslim youth was allegedly in a relationship with a Hindu girl.
- In the past, Muslims have been accused by Hindu right-wing groups of "luring" Hindu girls on the "pretext of love and marriage" as part of what they call "Love Jihad," a political takeover strategy.
Youth's body was found at woman's house
The youth, identified as Zia-ur-Rehman, was bludgeoned to death at the house of 19-year-old Tanu Saini on Tuesday night, as per the police. Zia's father, Mohammed Ayub, a shopkeeper, said he did not understand why his son was attacked. The Times of India, quoting family members of Zia, reported that he was called to Saini's house by her family.
3-4 people attacked him: Zia's uncle
Zia, as per his family, had suffered deep wounds and died on the way to a Dehradun hospital, nearly 70km away from Saharanpur, as "the local hospital could not attend to him due to severe injuries." "My nephew was a strong man and could have easily saved himself from one or two people. So, there were definitely more assaulters," Mohammed Farman, Zia's uncle, said.
Hours later Saini was found hanging
Hours after the death of Zia, the body of Saini, his classmate and alleged girlfriend, was found hanging in her room. Her family members said before going into the room, she had told them that she was going to change her clothes. Saini's mother Sunesh Devi claimed that she killed herself "out of shock after police took away her husband following Zia's death."
'The young duo were in relationship'
The duo was said to be in a relationship against the approval of Saini's family, which led to Zia's murder. However, both families claim the deceased did not know each other. However, their neighbors, in a veiled manner, suggested they both were in a relationship. "They knew each other. No one can get into the house without the gate being opened," Saini's neighbor said.
Didn't know Zia or who beat him up: Sunesh Devi
Saini's mother Devi claimed they neither knew who Zia was nor the people who beat him up. She said around midnight on Tuesday they heard a commotion outside and rushed out to see a group of people beating the man (Zia) with iron rods. "We tried to save him, but they continued thrashing. We then called the police...they took him away," she said.
Assaulters thought Zia was a thief: Saini's brother
Per The Indian Express, Saini's brother said, "The assaulters thought Zia was a thief. He was spotted entering our house on CCTV by around six students who were studying in a library adjacent to our house." "It was they who barged into our house and beat him up, thinking he was a thief. We, in fact, saved him and informed the police," he added.
Zia's family named four people in police complaint
The family of the Muslim youth has, however, named four members of Saini's family for Zia's murder in a police complaint. Superintendent of Police (City), Saharanpur, Abhimanyu Manglik said that Saini's father Janeshwar (52) and his elder brother Maneshwar (55), along with her cousins, Priyanshu (22) and Shivam Saini (20), have been named in the complaint. Manglik said that they are investigating the matter.
Four booked for culpable homicide
Based on the complaint by Zia's family, the police on Thursday booked the four aforementioned people under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), said Station House Officer, Rampur Maniharan Police Station, Vinay Kumar. Meanwhile, accusing Zia's family of instigating Saini to die by suicide due to "humiliation," a police complaint has also been filed against them by her family members.