In Haryana, more than 50000 gather to support Asif Khan’s killers

Rajput Karni Sena chief Kunwar Suraj Pal Amu (left), Asif Khan’s dead body (right)

The Haryana Police said they are investigating the veracity of a video of Rajput Karni Sena chief Kunwar Suraj Pal Amu making an anti-Muslim speech in favour of Hindu youths arrested in connection with the lynching of a Muslim youth Asif Khan in Mewat.

The video has been widely shared on social media.

The Hindu fringe group leader made the comments at a mahapanchayat held at Indri village on May 30 when COVID-induced restrictions were in place. Local Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and members of Karni Sena and Bharat Mata Vahini attended the program along with 50,000 people.

The Wire report says several villages held mahapanchayats to support the accused Hindu youths in the lynching case and demand their release.

According to The Wire, the Muslim Raksha Dal (MRL), Haryana, has filed a police complaint with the Mewat SP against the mahapanchayats, accusing the speakers of “spreading hatred, breaking laws, damaging brotherhood and instigating riots”.

“We have taken cognisance of this viral video and we will take action,” district Superintendent of Police Narendra Bijarniya told reporters.

Asif Khan, a Muslim gym trainer from Mewat district was lynched to death by Hindu vigilante groups on May 16 night, after he was forced to chant “Jai Shree Raam”, a prayer turned warcry by the Hindu nationalist groups.

Asif Khan’s family. Photo: Meer Faisal/Maktoob

Maktoob was the media reported Asif’s lynching. Speaking to Maktoob, Khan’s relatives said that he was travelling with his friends from Khalilpur, his home village, to Sohna to get medicines.“A group of 15 stopped the car and started abusing the passengers. They shouted “maar mulle ko” — Kill Muslims— and lynched Khan”, Hasan Kha, Khan’s uncle told Maktoob.

Rashid (31) and Wasif (22), co-passengers with Khan were also assaulted but survived the attack.

In the FIR filed in the case, 14 Hindu youths associated with BJP and other Hindu fringe groups were named. The main accused in the case are Patwari, Advani, Mahendra and Anup.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen supremo and MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday claimed that the mahapanchayat amounted to radicalisation. “50k gather in “Hindu Mahapanchayat” to support Asif’s killers,” Owaisi tweeted.

He said: “50000 gather in ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’ to support Asif’s killers. Speeches celebrate violence against Muslims and blame Asif for his death. This is radicalisation. Lowly thugs who would be rejected in a decent society enjoy social/political support here. Man who lynched a child, Junaid was guest speaker there. In 2017 mahapanchayat was held for Junaid’s killers too. In 2018 Union minister garlanded lynching convicts in Jharkhand. 2 BJP ministers spoke at rally in support of 8 year old Asifa’s killers.”

“We’re also blessed to have ‘secular’ parties who refuse to speak against this radicalisation but will preach liberalism, tolerance, etc to us all day,” Owaisi adds.

Mewat, one of the most backward districts in India have dozens of incidents of lynching by Hindu militant groups. Mob lynching of Muslims and other minorities have surged in India since Modi’s Hindu nationalist regime came to power in 2014.