On 6 December 2017, Mohammad Afrazul, a 45 year old man was brutally hacked and burnt in Rajsamand in Rajasthan. While the killer committed the horrific act, the killing was filmed and the video uploaded on the internet. The video showed the killer declaring that he killed to save a woman from “love jihad” and was also heard making other references to Hindu-Muslim relationships, threatening to “find each one of them and kill.” This is in continuing series of hate crimes in Rajasthan that earlier in the year claimed the lives of Pehlu Khan, Umer Khan and Zafar Khan. The killing in Rajsamand far from work of a deranged man is clearly a part of a larger scheme premised on hatred for Muslims. The hate speech delivered by the murderer with references to Padmavati film, PK (a movies that showed a love relationship between an Indian Hindu girl and a Muslim youth from Pakistan) and to ‘Love-Jihad’ unambiguously highlights the ideology underlying this brutal hate crime. CPI(ML) condemns this violence in the strongest terms and demands immediate resignation of Rajasthan CM who has singularly failed to bring this reign of terror to end. The CPI(ML) Rajasthan unit has also demanded a compensation of 50 lakh for the family of Mohammad Afrazul and that this case be heard in Fast Track court.
Following this horrific murder, protests have been and are being organized across the country by left organizations and other progressive workers.
A protest meeting was organized in Kalichak, Malda (West Bengal). Mohammad Afrazul originally belonged to Malda and had migrated to Rajasthan. CPI(ML) state secretary Dr. Partho Ghosh addressed the protest meeting. Com. Ibrahim, CPI(ML) Malda district secretary also visited Afrazul’s family in Saidpur, Kalichak.
In Delhi, a united citizens’ protest was organized outside Bikaner House on 9 December in which hundreds of people gathered demanding justice for Afrazul and the immediate resignation of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje. The protest saw participation of several democratic and progressive individuals and organizations and left organizations. JNUSU, AISA and AICCTU also participated in the protest. Addressing the protest meeting, AISA DU president Com. Kanwalpreet said, “Communal killings and vicious attacks on minorities have become a regular phenomenon in Rajasthan and the entire State machinery is time and again used to shamelessly defend the murderers accused in lynching. AISA demands that all the perpetrators be immediately booked”. She added that the incident that took place in Rajasthan is shameful. Repeatedly we are forced to gather here due to the number of killings that are taking place. We demand proper investigation into all these matters.
In Palamu (Jharkhand), AISA district committee organized a Nukkad Sabha on 10 December. In Daltonganj an angry protest marked by loud sloganeering against the saffron terror was organised by AISA. The speakers addressing the protest spoke about how in the name of ‘love-jihad’, çow protection’, Ram Mandir and other issues minorities, dalits and tribals are being attacked. A massive protest was also organized by AICCTU in Ranchi. The march started from the party office and culminated as a protest meeting at Albert Ekka Chowk. AICCTU state secretary for Jharkhand, Com. Bhuneshwar Kewat called the killing of Afzarul a state sponsored killing. In last 6 months, this is the fourth such killing and the fact that there has been no action on the culprits reveals that the perpetrators enjoy state protection. The workers in Rajasthan are as it is on the receiving end of anti-worker policies of the state that has introduced amendments in labour laws. He said that the failures of Rajasthan government on every front have been appalling and the Vasundhara raje government must resign.
The series of protests will continue in days to come.