A file photo of Arbaz Aftab Mullah, who was allegedly murdered over an interfaith relationship with a Hindu woman in Belagavi. | Photo by special arrangement
A file photo of Arbaz Aftab Mullah, who was allegedly murdered over an interfaith relationship with a Hindu woman in Belagavi. | Photo by special arrangement
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Bengaluru: The Belagavi Police arrested 10 persons late Thursday in connection with the alleged murder of a Muslim man, who was killed over his interfaith relationship with a Hindu woman.

The decapitated body of the victim, Arbaz Aftab Mullah, was found on railway tracks in Belagavi’s Khanapur on 28 September.

According to a police statement Friday, members of Sri Ram Sene Hindustan — an offshoot of extremist Hindutva outfit Sri Ram Sene — and parents of the Hindu woman have been arrested for allegedly conspiring to murder and killing the 24-year-old.

Pundalik Mutagekar, taluk level leader of Sri Ram Sene Hindustan, and Susheela Eerappa Kumbhar and Eerappa Kumbhar — the parents of the Hindu woman — are among those arrested.

“The parents of the girl approached Pundalik Mutagekar and offered him money to murder Arbaz Aftab Mullah since they opposed his relationship with their daughter. Arbaz was called to meet the killers on 28 September evening. He was intimidated, money was extorted from him and he was murdered,” said the statement.

“His body was put on the railway tracks with the intent of destroying evidence,” it added.

“Ten persons have been arrested after thorough investigation,” Laxman Nimbaragi, Superintendent of Police, Belagavi, told ThePrint.

These include Mutagekar’s acquaintances Maruthi Pralhad Sugate, Manjunath Tukaram, Ganapati Gnaneshwara Sugathe, Prashanth Kallappa Patil (aka Birje), Praveen Shankar Poojare and Sridhar Mahadev Dhoni. Qutubuddin Allahbaksh, the lone Muslim among those arrested, is said to have played a part in the alleged conspiracy.


Also read: Bring biryani, we’ll eat together: Last thing ‘murdered’ Belagavi Muslim man told mother


New charges added

While an FIR in the case was first filed on 29 September based on Arbaz’s mother Najima Mohammed Ghouse Sheikh’s complaint to the railway police, a fresh FIR was filed on 4 October when the case was transferred to the Belagavi police.

The FIR was registered under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), to be read with section 34 (group of people committing a crime) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The police have now added additional sections for wrongful restraint, criminal conspiracy, among others.

Earlier, Sri Ram Sene Hindustan founder Ramakant Konduskar had told ThePrint that “his workers are being targeted for upholding Hindutva”.

“They have nothing to do with the murder,” he said.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)


Also read: ‘We’re against interfaith relationships’: Sri Ram Sene offshoot suspected in Belagavi murder


 

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