Communal tension in Himachal Pradesh after Dalit youth’s murder
Shimla: The district administration on Friday stopped Himachal Pradesh Leader of Opposition and ex-CM Jai Ram Thakur and state BJP president Rajeev Bindal from visiting the family of a 22-year-old Dalit youth who was murdered and his body sliced into eight pieces and dumped in a drain.
The youth was killed by the family of a girl he was involved with, who belonged to a different community.
Other BJP leaders including former deputy Speaker Hans Raj were also stopped from visiting the family of the victim.
After communal tension flared, a 1,000-strong mob set ablaze the houses of the accused family even as VHP demanded hanging of the accused involved in the brutal killing of the youth — Manohar Lal, who was allegedly in love with a girl belonging to a Muslim family of Musafir Hussain at village Bhandal in Salooni area of Chamba district. The police have already arrested 10 members of the accused’s family including the girl’s brother yet shock and anger still prevails in the area.
Condemning the incident, Thakur has demanded a probe by the NIA suspecting a large communal plot. He claimed one of the accused was investigated in the 1998 Satrundi massacre, when 35 people had been killed by Pakistan-trained terrorists in Chamba’s Satrundi which borders Jammu’s Doda district. Deputy Commissioner, Chamba, Aproov Devgan has already imposed Section 144 of CrPC in the area.
Condemning the murder, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu has called for upholding unity and harmony and emphasised the need to refrain from giving a political or communal colour to the incident.
It looks like a case of honour killing, said a police official, ruling out any larger communal angle. The police have confirmed that the youth was in a relationship with the girl belonging to the minority community. Her family was allegedly involved in the killing and slicing the youth’s body into pieces. The victim had been missing since June 6. His body was recovered three days later.
The police have arrested Musafir Hussain and seven members of his family, including the girl Lal was in a relationship with, said an official in Chamba.
Additional Director General of Police, law and order, Abhishek Trivedi said the situation was under control. “Five companies have been deployed in the area. We have arrested the accused and investigation is on.” CM Sukhu said the government will appeal for strict punishment to the accused. On being asked about the BJP’s demand for a probe by the National Investigation Agency, Sukhu asked for the request in writing.