Sharjeel Usmani, a known Islamist hatemonger, used an unfortunate crime in Haryana to peddle hatred against the Hindu community. As it so happens, the crime, as unfortunate as it was, did not have any communal angle to it.
The Newslaundry columnist said that Hindus who chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ are most likely terrorists.
The crime which Sharjeel Usmani used to defame Hindus is suspected to be a case of personal rivalry. One Asif was murdered during a clash between two groups. Only recently, the group Asif was associated with had attacked members of the other group.
Consequently, the other group pulled off a revenge attack during which Asif lost his life. Thus, quite clearly, it does not appear to be motivated by any communal inclinations. However, the allegations that are currently dominating discourse is that the mob that attacked Asif forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
The first witness testimony by Asif’s brother Rashid does not mention any such allegations. He does name some of the accused such as Patwari but ‘Jai Shri Ram’ does not figure in his statement. It is quite a significant detail that does not expect a victim to forget while recording his statement in a video.
Incidentally, ‘Jai Shri Ram’ figured for the first time during the episode in a report by Maktoob Media. “A group of 15 stopped the car and started abusing the passengers. They shouted “maar mulle ko” — Kill Muslims— and lynched Khan,” Asif’s uncle Hasan Khan told Maktoob.
Maktoob, incidentally, has in the past indulged in mischief to peddle propaganda. In the violence at Jamia University episode, Maktoob released a heavily edited video online to cast aspersions at the Delhi Police which was forced to enter the campus to flush out rioters.
The husband of Aysha Renna, Afsal Rahman, is a contributor at Maktoob. Aysha Renna had called India ‘fascist’ for executing Mumbai Blast terrorist Yakub Memon.
According to Supreme Court lawyer Anas Tanwir says that the uncle is not an eyewitness and the eyewitness does not mention ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
Haryana Police has ruled out any communal angle to the crime. According to Police, two cases have been filed against Asif alias Saddu and five against Pradeep alias Patwari, the prime accused in the Asif murder case.
Initial investigation has revealed that Asif is a close aide of BSP leader from Sohna, Javed Ahmed. He is a relative of Congress MLA from Nuh, Chaudhary Aftab Ahmed. Pradeep is a close aide of local BJP leader, Bhalla, who is in turn a close aide of BJP’s Sohna MLA Kanwar Sanjay Singh.
In the village, there are two caste-based groups, one of Zakir caste led by Asif and other of Gurjar caste led by Pradeep. Each have 15-20 members each. About 20 days back, Asif’s group had beaten up members of Pradeep’s group and to avenge the same, Pradeep’s group attacked Asif.
Sharjeel Usmani has a record of instigating communal passions and hatred against the Hindu community. He had earlier celebrated the death of Aaj Tak news anchor Rohit Sardana.