In scenes which disturb many, some right-wing members honoured Shambhu Lal Regar, the man accused of burning alive a Muslim man, Afrazul, in a hate-crime incident which had shocked the nation last year. The accused was deified in a procession taken out on the occasion of Ram Navami. Officials have said that they will now look into the matter. Regar, who is presently lodged in jail, is accused of hacking Afrazul in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. Regar had video-recorded the crime on camera and the chilling video-clip had then gone viral on social media.
In what should come as an embarrassment for the administration, one of the several tableaux was dedicated to murder accused. In the procession, a man impersonated Regar and posed with a pickaxe in his hand. While Shambhu was scene seated like a king, the victim lay on the ground.
A message on a flex hailed Regar as someone who had tried to fight ‘love-jihad’. “Wake up Hindu brothers, save your sister and daughter; Nation should be liberated of love jehad,” the message, in Hindi, said.
Speaking to media, some of the organisers blatantly defended the brazen hailing of a hate-crime accused.
Mahaveer Singh, an office-bearer of Vishva Hindu Parishad, termed “love-jihad” a serious issue and justified the inclusion of the controversial tableax in the procession. Singh said that if the government did not take any action, the country will be on the brink of a civil-war like situation. “The government needs to be serious and act before this issue pushes the country to the brink of a civil war,” the VHP official was quoted as saying.
He also claimed that Regar is an under-trial and could not be declared a criminal. Hari Singh, another member part of organising committee and an office bearer of Shiv Sena, expressed pride in Regar’s act. “He brought to the attention of all Hindus to the issue of Love Jihad, which is a more serious matter of the time than even cancer. He did it for the Hindu community and it wasn’t wrong”, he said.