On Monday, a 21-year-old college student Nikita Tomar was fatally shot in Haryana's Ballabhgarh area in broad daylight while she was returning home from college. A video of the incident has gone viral on the internet.
On Tuesday, the police arrested two persons in connection with the case. The main accused has been identified as Touseef who is a resident of Sona Road in Gurugram, while the other accused has been identified as Rehan who is a resident of Nuh district of Haryana, the police said.
During the police interrogation on Tuesday, Touseef confessed to killing Nikita Tomar. According to an India Today report, Touseef said that he murdered Nikita to exact revenge for his earlier arrest in 2018. "I couldn't study medicine because I was arrested. And hence I took revenge," he said. The same report mentions that Touseef told the police that he killed Nikita Tomar because she was about to get married to someone else.
Reportedly, Touseef was arrested in 2018 for harassing Nikita for marriage and kidnapping her. Nikita's family had filed an FIR against Touseef, however, the matter was settled after talks in the panchayat, Nikita's brother told India Today.
During the interrogation on Tuesday, it was also revealed that the Touseef and Nikita had had a phone conversation for more than 16 minutes a day before the incident.
After the incident, Nikita's family alleged that the murder was linked to love jihad and claimed Touseef wanted her to convert to Islam and marry him. However, Touseef's uncle on Tuesday said that there was no question of love jihad. He condemned the incident and said that it was unfortunate. He added that he did not know about the weapon in Touseef's possession. He said, "We respect all religions. There is no question of love jihad".
On Wednesday, a Special Investigation Team (SIT), led by ACP Crime Anil Kumar, reached victim's house to talk to the family. The team has been formed to ensure a quick probe into the case.
Meanwhile, the police have recovered the murder weapon and have also found out the car used by Touseef and Rehan during the crime. Both the accused are now in two-day police remand and a case has been registered under Sections 302 (murder), 34 (criminal act done by several persons) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 25 (carrying prohibited arms) of the Arms Act.
Besides, the Congress party has lashed out at the BJP-led Haryana government and demanded punishment in 30 days. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the murder case is shocking. "Goons shot her dead in broad daylight. Where is (the Manohar Lal) Khattar government? Will the daughters continue to remain insecure? In two years in Haryana (after the BJP came to power), there is a 45 per cent increase in crimes against women," Surjewala said.
"Khattar sahab wake up and punish the guilty. If you had daughters and they were murdered this way, then you would have known how a family feels. You should ensure punishment to the murder accused in 30 days. Otherwise this government has no right to remain in power," he added.
Meanwhile, condemning the incident, Haryana Women Commission member Preeti Bhardwaj said that they sought a detailed report of the case from the Faridabad police commissioner.
"We have seen the video. The commission has written a letter to the Faridabad police commissioner and we expect to get a detailed report of the incident in the next 48 hours. If such type of incident took place, it shows there are some flaws in the system. Guilty should get strict punishment," she said.
Moreover, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) labelled the murder as "love jihad" and urged the Central government to bring in a law against it. Surendra Jain, International Joint Secretary of VHP said, "The Central government must bring the law against 'love jihad'. Conversion cannot be allowed in any civilised society, love jihad cannot be allowed. It is not just the invasion of the population," said Jain. "This is an attack on the self-respect of non-Muslims and also on the security of the country," he alleged.
Meanwhile, BSP National Spokesperson Sudhindra Bhadoria condemned the incident and said that it is being labelled as 'love-Jihad' incident which is absolutely wrong as it is a law and order issue. "There are cases where girls, teenagers particularly have been targeted but to giving it a communal colour is unfair, improper and unwarranted. I think this is a matter of law and order failure and between two young people in which this boy should certainly be dealt with an iron hand for his behaviour and for shooting the girl", Sudhindra Bhadoria told ANI.
(With input from agencies)