On 21 January, 31-year-old Dilshad Hussain was shot dead by his father-in-law Bhagwat Nishad outside a civil court in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Several media outlets reported the homicide portraying Dilshad as a “rape-accused” or “rapist”, a claim his family and activists refute.
Retired BSF officer, Bhagwat, shot Dilshad Hussain in the head with his licensed pistol and got instantly arrested by the guards near the gate of the court.
Following the murder, right-wing media outlets have been demonising Dilshad on allegations, helping the father find support in social media.
Dilshad was at the gate of the court on the call of his lawyer Shankar Sharan Shukla.
Hailing from Vidhipur village in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, Dilshad Hussain used to work at a cycle repair shop near Bhagwat’s residence in Barhalganj.
In February 2020, he eloped with Nishad’s daughter and got married to her in Telangana, according to Hindu custom. Before marriage, Dilshad Hussain converted to the Hindu religion in an Arya Samaj temple and changed his name to Dilraj.
Nishad filed a case against Dilshad Hussain accusing him of abducting and raping his daughter— legally minor, according to the complaint.
“On 11 February 2020, his daughter who is a BA second-year student went to campus but did not return home. Later, he received a call saying that Dilshad Hussain had kidnapped his daughter and could get her to do immoral acts,” says the complaint filed by Bhagwat on 17 February 2020.
Speaking to Maktoob, Dilshad’s father Tahir Hussain said, “Dilshad and Bhagwat’s daughter known together since childhood. The girl’s mother and grandparents agreed to the marriage. However, the rest of the family opposed them.”
On 20 February 2021, police arrested Dilshad Hussain in Hyderabad and booked him under Sections 363, 366 and 376 (kidnapping and rape) of the IPC and the POCSO Act.
According to the right-wing media outlet, Opindia, the girl was then sent to Naari Niketan by the family who says “they were ashamed to even step out of the house.”
“The girl’s age was stated to be less than 18 years and police had imposed POCSO Act. Dilshad was granted bailed by the High Court,” activist Dhirendra Pratap from Gorakhpur told Maktoob.
At the trial court, Dilshad had presented the marriage certificate from Arya Samaj temple of Chengicheralla Village of Ghatkesar Mandal, RR District, Telangana as proof to establish she is an adult. The birth date of the girl on the certificate is 5 December 1998.
Her Aadhar card says the date of birth is 21 December 2002. Maktoob couldn’t independently verify the information.
The date of marriage is 13 February 2020 at 3 PM. His certificate of conversion was also presented in the court. Maktoob got access to the certificate and other documents related to the case.
“Media is showing Bhagwat as a hero which is shameful and false,” says Pratap. He also claims he is threatened by Hindu fundamentalists for bringing out the “truth”.
“They want to do politics by spoiling the atmosphere in Gorakhpur,” says Dhirendra.
“The case is going on in court. Both the parties had presented the evidence in the POCSO Act Court. So it was time for the witnesses to make statements,” Dilshad Hussain’s lawyer, Shankar Sharan Shukla told Maktoob.