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Aligarh: How Islamists are twisting a case where a thief was beaten into a case of ‘lynching of a Muslim by Hindutva mob’

After the police confirmed that Aurangzeb had indeed entered the house of a Hindu on Tuesday night, elements like Zeyad Masroor Khan started claiming that he was returning home from a friend's place and had entered a 'neighborhood house by mistake'. These assertions were endorsed by elements like Mohammad Zubair as well.

On the 18th of June 2024, a Muslim man called Mohammed Farid, who was also known as “Aurangzeb” was killed after being beaten up by Hindus in Aligarh. According to the Aligarh police, Aurangzeb had entered a Hindu house with the intention to steal. Thereafter, he was caught hold by the family and beaten up, leading to his death.

The Aligarh police in their statement said that the Hindus and Muslims had both protested, however, contrary to some media reports there were no incidents of stone pelting reported from the area.

The incident occurred in the Mamu Bhanja locality around 10:15 PM on Tuesday and the deceased has been identified as Mohammed Farid alias Aurangzeb (35), a resident of the Ghas Ki Mandi locality.

The police arrested 6 Hindus after filing an FIR against 10 named accused and dozens of unidentified Hindus accused.

While the police said the situation was under control and there was no law and order issue in the locality, on Wednesday, Hindu and Muslim groups protested demanding justice.

The Hindu side demanded that those arrested should be released, while the Muslim side demanded justice for Aurangzeb, who had entered a Hindu house late at night.

Samajwadi Party (SP) leader came out in defense of Aurangzeb. “No one has the right to take the law in their hands. Even if there was suspicion of Aurangzeb being a thief, he should have been handed over to the police. None had any right to beat the man to death even if there was a suspicion,” local Samajwadi Party leader Ajju Ishaq, who led the protest against the incident, said. “The country will run by the Constitution and law of land and a man, even if suspect, cannot be lynched on religious identity.”

On the other hand, BJP leader Mukta Raja has said that those Hindu boys arrested are innocent and are being falsely framed. She said that Aurangzeb entered the Hindu house with 4-6 other Muslim men. When caught, the others fled and Aurangzeb fell down the stairs, being caught. She has demanded a thorough investigation into the videos that have surfaced and demanded that no innocent person be punished.

On social media, Islamists and the usual elements, who give unbridled covering fire to Islamists, have started giving the ‘Muslim victimhood’ spin to the incident.

Zeyad Masroor Khan, who is a journalist and has worked with Reuters, Vice, DH, and Brut India, claimed that Aurangzeb had ‘gone to meet a friend and entered a neighborhood home by mistake’.

Meer Faisal, whose misinformation about Hindus was used by ISIS to call for the genocide of Hindus, said that the mob which lynched Aurangzeb was a “Hindutva mob”.

Alishan Jafri, another Islamist who calls himself a journalist termed the incident an “anti-Muslim attack”.

The lies were actively peddled by Mohammad Zubair of AltNews as well.

With this dangerous narrative being peddled by the usual suspects, furthering the eternal Muslim victimhood narrative, it becomes imperative to analyze the publicly available information about this case and how the Islamists are indulging in the usual chicanery to blame Hindus and paint the thief as an innocent Muslim man who was lynched for his religious identity.

The FIR in the case was based on the complaint filed by Aurangzeb’s brother. Mohammed Zaki alleged that Aurangzeb was returning home from work when he was mobbed and thrashed by some residents in the Mamu Bhanja locality around 10:15 PM. “They (accused) gathered with the intention of killing brother Aurangzeb. They had lathi, stick, hockey (stick) and iron rod in hand and attacked my brother after identifying him as a Muslim, they killed him,” the complainant has alleged in the FIR.

After the police confirmed that Aurangzeb had indeed entered the house of a Hindu on Tuesday night, elements like Zeyad Masroor Khan started claiming that he was returning home from a friend’s place and had entered a ‘neighborhood house by mistake’. These assertions were endorsed by elements like Mohammad Zubair as well.

This narrative, needless to say, makes very little sense. The brother of the accused has claimed that Aurangzeb was innocently returning home and on his way, he was “identified as a Muslim and lynched to death”. This assertion is debunked immediately after the police have confirmed that he indeed did enter a Hindu house with the intention to steal. The goalpost shift by OGWs claiming that he entered the Hindu house “by mistake” is outlandish, to say the least. They are essentially claiming that while walking on the road, a 35-year-old man, for no apparent reason, simply “by mistake” entered a random house that happened to be one of a Hindu. Nobody enters strange houses late at night, with no ‘intention’ and ‘by mistake’. This is a narrative being peddled simply to demonize Hindus and paint the thief as an innocent Muslim victimized for his religious identity.

Now that it has been established that Aurangzeb did enter a Hindu house late at night, it becomes important to analyze the claim that he was lynched owing to his Muslim identity.

If a strange man enters the house where a family is dwelling late at night, it is unthinkable that the family would first ask the intruder his religious identity before deciding to defend themselves. In a house with women and children, the first instinct, I daresay, would be to assume the worst and with force, if necessary, defend the life and honor of the family from the intruder. To assume that the family, whose house was broken into, would first ask the religious identity of the intruder and spare the perpetrator if he turned out to be a Hindu and defend themselves only if the perpetrator was a Muslim is a myopic narrative furthered only to paint Islamists as the eternal victims.

The narrative about Aurangzeb being beaten up for his Muslim identity is one being furthered by the SP leader Ajju Ishaq and the Islamists on social media, who pretend to be journalists and commentators.

Of course, ideally, nobody should take the law into their own hands and Aurangzeb should have been handed over to the police for further investigation and action. However, defending oneself and one’s family from intruders is human instinct, which in this case led to an illegal action, however, the reaction of the family and the locals would have been the same regardless of the religious identity of the perpetrator. Therefore, to brand this incident as an anti-Muslim attack by a “Hindutva mob” is nothing more than propaganda to target Hindus.

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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