Officer's Hate Crime Stuns India: Muslims Gunned Down on Train

A railway guard in India shocked the country after going on a shooting rampage while inside a train, killing his colleague and three other passengers.

Indian authorities identified the gunman as 33-year-old Chetan Singh, a constable working for the country’s Railway Protection Force. Singh committed the act while aboard the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Superfast Express on the early morning of July 31st.

Witnesses said Singh first shot his 57-year-old senior Hindu colleague, RPF Assistant Sub-Inspector Tikaram Meena, using his service rifle. After killing Meena, Singh went to the train’s pantry coach and killed two passengers, Abdul Kadar Mohammed Hussain Bhanpurwala and Syed Saifuddin. Abdul was 64 years old.

The suspect went to another compartment where he killed his last victim, 48-year-old bangle seller Asgar Abbas Ali. Videos of Singh holding his rifle after killing the four men circulated on social media, and Indian news agencies ANI and PTI showed bunk beds stained with blood and shattered windows on the train.

All of the three passengers killed were Muslim.

Singh was also heard hailing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, the hardline chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. He was heard saying, “If you want to live and vote in Hindustan [India], I am telling you, it’s only Modi and Yogi,” in a video.

The police apprehended him shortly after his killings when Singh tried to stop the train and get off near Borivali, a suburb on Mumbai's outskirts. He was charged with multiple murders, endangering the safety of the train’s passengers, and misuse of his service weapon, among other charges.

India’s federal railway ministry offered 1 million Indian rupees (equivalent to around 12,000 US dollars) to the families of the victim. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) haven’t commented yet on the issue. Modi was in a Hindu ceremony during the killings.

Many activists and family members of the three Muslim victims condemned the violence and called it “a hate crime” and “an act of terror.

What had my brother done to deserve this? He was a simple man and never troubled anyone,” Mohammad Sanaulla, brother of Asgar Abbas Ali, said regarding the murder of his brother.

Opposition politicians, particularly from the Indian National Congress (INC), criticized the government for the killings. Jairam Ramesh, a senior leader of the INC, described the incident as “cold-blooded murders.” and tweeted that “the genie of hate is now out of the bottle, and it will take a lot of collective effort to put it back in.

He also blamed Prime Minister Modi and the BJP for the “hate and violence” plaguing much of India. He said the top leaders of the ruling party are “complicit in damaging the social fabric of India.

However, authorities claimed Singh had mental health issues and had “lost his calm” with his senior colleague.

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