BELAGAVI: Nearly four days after a 24-year-old youth was found brutally murdered in Belagavi over his relationship with a girl from another community, eight people have been taken into custody by the Railway police. Arbaz Aftab Mulla, a car dealer from Khanapur, was decapitated and his body dumped on the railway tracks, allegedly by members of a right-wing organisation who had earlier threatened the victim and his mother.
According to sources, the police have also seized an ambulance, which is said to belong to the organisation, from the crime scene. The youth’s mutilated body was found on the railway tracks at Desur, near Khanapur, on September 28. A railway guard, who saw the body, found a phone in the pocket and informed the victim’s mother Najeema Sheikh. She rushed to the spot and identified the body.
The accused and the seized material are being handed over to the district police. The state government has transferred the case to the district police, according to police sources. Najeema Sheikh, a government school teacher, said some people, who had introduced themselves as social activists, had been threatening her son. In her police complaint, she accused the girl’s father, social activist Pundalik Maharaj and his associate Birje of killing her son. Police sources confirmed that those rounded up include these three people.
According to Najeema, Maharaj and his associates sought “settlement money” from her son. “He had paid them Rs 7,000, but they kept demanding more. My son told me that they were seeking Rs 90,000. I had told him to pay it off and forget the whole issue. He was arranging the money,’’ she said. She also alleged that Maharaj had been threatening her and Arbaz.
“Maharaj told me that he has 40 pending police cases against him and he won’t be bothered if another case was filed against him. He had even called us to Khanapur to face a ‘trial’ before a crowd of supporters of the right-wing organisation. But when we went, there were only a few people, and the girl’s father. I told the father that I had spoken to the girl’s mother and that we had decided to end the relationship.
When the families had made a decision, what was the need for outsiders to interfere? When I raised this question, Maharaj got angry and said that a Muslim boy having a relationship with a Hindu girl was not acceptable. But I did not know that they would go to the extent of killing my son. I will fight a legal battle to see that the offenders are punished,” she said.
AIMIM protest rally
AIMIM state general secretary Latif Khan Pathan said the party will stage a protest of Friday, if the murderers are not arrested by Wednesday. They have also planned to invite AIMIM president and MP Asaduddin Owaisi to Belagavi for the protest. The district police should get its act together and complete the probe impartially, he added.