India, Jharkhand: Mohammed Shalik, 19, a resident of Raza Colony in Gumla town, was beaten brutally late on Wednesday night when he was spotted with his girlfriend, 15, who belonged to a Hindu community. He was allegedly in a relationship with the Hindu girl of a nearby village, Soso, for more than a year. The girl allegedly called her boyfriend to meet her at Gumla town for the spring Hindu festival that celebrates the birthday of god Rama (Ram Navami procession).
Police have already arrested three accused persons and they hope they will arrest the other three, who are absconding, very soon, according to Chandan Kumar Jha, Gumla Superintendent of Police. The police officer denied that there was any communal angle into the incident as “it was just the fallout of a love affair”. “Though investigation is on, we were told by the villagers that the boy had been asked earlier not to meet the girl and never visit the village,” said Jha.
When Shalik dropped the girl home after the meeting, a group of neighbors saw him and surrounded him, tied him to a tree and assaulted him for hours; the woman was quoted as saying by police. Shalik’s father Mohammad Minhaj said two people came to his house on Wednesday night to tell him that his son was being beaten and tied to a tree at Soso village. After that, he informed the police immediately and they found Shalik was critically injured. He eventually died on Tuesday from the injuries.
This incident happened at a time of rising communal tensions in the state which are results of controversial initiatives in neighboring Uttar Pradesh. Activists have cried foul against Jharkhand’s decision to create anti-romeo squads and seal illegal slaughterhouses, saying that the moves unfairly targeted the Muslim community. Anti-romeo squads consist of police stationed outside schools and colleges to pick up young boys if they suspect them as "Romeos" — men who are sexually harassing women. The fear of being caught has already started to affect young couples in the area.
Photo Credits: India Today