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"My Raju was killed in full public view, near the traffic signal. I fell at everyone's feet. Why did no one come to help?" asked Syed Ashrin Sulthana, whose husband was stabbed to death on a busy road in Hyderabad on Wednesday, 4 May.
Billipuram Nagaraju, a Dalit man, was brutally attacked and killed at a busy road in Saroornagar in Hyderabad over his marriage to a woman from the Muslim community.
The police has filed a case under IPC section 302 (murder) and other relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in the incident.
They have also nabbed the two accused who are Sulthana's brother, Syed Mobin Ahmed, and her relative, Mohammed Masood Ahmed, in connection with the case.
"Could they not see when he was being killed in front of them? Doesn’t this world have eyes? I fell at the feet of everyone. If I had died, I would not have been so shattered. I laid on my Raju to save him but one person (attacker) kept pulling me back, while the other kept attacking him. Raju was wearing a helmet, but they broke his head," Sulthana said to the reporters.
Sulthana said that she had initially refused to marry Nagaraju, worried that he may be harmed if they were to solemnise their relationship.
"I had told Raju that I will not marry him, I will not marry anyone, I will not cheat him by marrying anyone. I will continue to live like this. For two months before the marriage, I had not even spoken to him (in hopes that it would break off). I told him because of me you will lose your life. Marry someone else, I had told him. He did not eat for days after that. I finally married him."Syed Ashrin Sulthana, the deceased's wife.
What Had Happened?
The interfaith couple was attacked around 9 pm on Wednesday, in a horrifying incident that was caught on CCTV. The couple, who was traveling on their two-wheeler, was pursued by the woman’s brother and another relative on a bike.
Nagaraju, 26, was stabbed with a knife and beaten with an iron rod. A video of the incident shows a man approaching the injured Nagaraju with an iron rod, even as his wife, Syed Ashrin Sulthana, attempts to hold the assailant off. A crowd of people can also been seen surrounding the site of the murder.
After the arrest of the two accused, KT Rama Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi said in a tweet, "Please make sure they are given the harshest of punishments possible as per IPC."
He also tagged Telangana Home Minister and Director General of Police in the tweet and thanked Rachakonda Polcie for their "swift action".
What Has the Police Said?
The police said that Sulthana's relatives had been looking for the couple since the two got married in January, and had located them at a Maruti showroom on Wednesday. They had then followed the couple.
"Syed Mobin Ahmed pushed him to the ground and started beating him with a centering iron rod (used in constructions) on his head indiscriminately. He then started stabbing the victim with a knife which he had, whereas the second accused, Masood Ahmed, continued hitting him with the rod on the head. After confirming that he was dead, they fled away with the weapons," the Saroor Nagar Police said.
"ACP (LB Nagar) along with Inspector of Police, SIs and team, apprehended the two accused within hours and seized the centering iron rod and knife which were seized in the commission of offence," the statement said.
"We'll apply to the fast track court so that its trial is concluded soon, and the accused are punished," DCP LB Nagar Zone Sunpreet Singh said, adding that the deceased's family will be provided with monetary benefits.
While the police has said that two men were behind the attack, Sulthana said that five men were involved in the murder. The deceased belongs to the Mala community, categorised as a Scheduled Caste in the state.
Sulthana, Nagaraju Had Been in a Relationship Since Class 10, Had Shifted To Vishakhapatnam Out of Fear
While Nagaraju is a native of Marpalle in Rangareddy district, Sulthana hails from the neighbouring Ghanapur village in the same district. As Sulthana’s parents did not agree to their proposal, the couple got married on 31 January this year in an Arya Samaj ceremony in Hyderabad.
Sulthana told the media that she had been in a relationship with her husband since Class 10, and despite Nagaraju approaching her family expressing his intention to marry her, they had declined the proposal.
“He even told my mother that he will convert to Islam, but still they never accepted the proposal,” The News Minute reported her as saying.
After their marriage, the couple were living in Panjala Anil Kumar Colony in Saroornagar and Nagaraju worked as a car salesman.
Suspecting that they were being followed by Sulthana’s family members, the couple had shifted to Visakhapatnam for a brief period, as per reports. They returned to the city about a week ago.
Meanwhile, BJP activists gathered and raised slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while demanding justice for the victim. The protesting BJP activists demanded that the accused be promptly punished.
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