Ramalingam's Murder Was To Incite Communal Tension & To Create Fear Among Those Questioning Islam, Says FIR
The Thiruvidaimaruthur police in Kumbakonam town of Thanjavur district in a First Information Report (FIR) have alleged that the motive behind the murder of former Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) member V Ramalingam on February 5, was to incite communal tension, reported The News Minute. As of now, the police have arrested ten persons linked to the murder. These ten persons also include three Popular Front of India (PFI) members and the owner of the vehicles in which the miscreants allegedly arrived. Mohammad Azaruddin, Mohammad Riaz, Nizam Ali, Sarbuddin and Mohammad Riaz were taken into custody two days after the murder, that is on February 7. Whereas, Mohammed Parvez, Touhid Basha, and Mohammed Toufiq were arrested on February 9. The vehicle used in the crime was seized by the police and the owner, Mohammed Ibrahim was arrested on February 11. Another accused Mohammed Kuthoos from Karaikal was arrested recently. However, the prime witness says that none of those arrested was there at the incident site.
Hindutva parties were quick to jump into the issue to fuel the communal trouble. On the same day, Bharatiya Janata Party National Secretary H Raja blamed the PFI for the murder on its Facebook page. Various right-wing social media users expressed that the murder of Ramalingam was ignored.
What has happened?
On the night of February 5, a group of unidentified men assaulted Ramalingam. The 42-year-old was returning home when the perpetrators came in a vehicle and chopped his hands with billhooks. He was rushed to a private hospital in Kumbakonam as he was bleeding profusely. However, the doctors there recommended him to be taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital in the main city. However, lacking treatment, he died on the way to the hospital.
What did the Police Say?
A police officer during the investigation earlier told The News Minute that there is an ongoing trend among the Muslims in the town to visit the localities dominated by their community and preach about their religious practices. Normally, these people keep themselves restricted to the Muslim Dominated Areas, however, on February 5, the group had entered the area which has the Dalit population as a majority. He further said that Ramalingam coincidentally came across the group of Muslims speaking about Islam there, and questioned them. This led to a heated discussion between them. However, the issue was also resolved by the Muslim clerics in the afternoon. Although the police suspect that these men could have chopped Ramalingam’s hand to settle the issue.
Arrested Men Are Not Culprit
According to a report by Scroll, R Shiyamsundhar who was with his father when the attack took place, said that none of the arrested people was among the people who attacked his father, Ramalingam. The 17-year-old told Scroll that he has seen the pictures of those arrested and they are not his father’s murderer. He further said that these people belonged to another town and he hasn’t seen them before. After the victim’s family contradicted police statements, they are being restricted from speaking to the media, reported The Times Of India.
Previously, the police registered an FIR on February 6 under section 302 (Murder) of the IPC. However, the police have changed the FIR substantially to include sections from the Unlawful Activites (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. The News Minute reported that the FIR at many places allege, that the motive behind Ramalingam’s murder was to make people aware that anyone who raises questions against Islam cannot get away lightly. The investigative officer said that murder was a planned one. He said that the initial investigation points a conspiracy behind the murder and it was done to increase communal tension between Hindus and people from other religions living in that area.
The members of PFI held a demonstration in Chennai on February 7 seeking the release of their men. PFI president said that police is arresting the innocents to let go real culprits off the hook.