A gruesome video of the murder of a third-year student of Berhampore Girl's College on Monday, 2 May has gone viral on social media, with many, including the likes of BJP leader Kapil Mishra calling it an instance of "Love Jihad".
The girl, who has been identified as 21-year-old Sutapa Chowdhury, was reportedly killed in Behrampore's Surjya Sen Street on Monday evening by one Susanta Chowdhury, who has been arrested.
Speaking to The Quint, Deputy SP (D&T) Sheikh Shamsuddin said, "This is not a case of love jihad", adding that both – the victim and the accused – belonged to the same religion.
An FIR (9/22 dt 3.5.22 u/s 505(2)) has also been filed against Mishra and some others by the Cyber Police for spreading false rumours and amplifying communal hatred.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra, in a tweet on 2 May, claimed that the girl was a Hindu, while the boy was a Muslim. He later deleted his tweet but an archived version can be viewed here.
He also wrote, "Love Jihad has become most serious threat (sic)," referring to the oft-repeated theory – popularised by the right wing – that Muslim men are coercing Hindu women to convert in the guise of love.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We reached out to the deputy superintendent (D&T) of Murshidabad police Sheikh Shamsuddin, who clarified that this is not a case of love jihad and that both – the victim and the accused – are Hindus.
"The rumours about this being a love jihad case is false. There is no communal angle to this. Both Susanta and Sutapa were Hindus."Sheikh Shamsuddin, Deputy Superintended (D&T)
Earlier, on 2 May, Murshidabad police had tweeted the name of the accused, Susanta Chowdhury, and added that legal action will be initiated against anyone trying to spread false rumours.
The tweet also carried the accused's Aadhaar card. However, the tweet was later deleted.
WHAT HAD HAPPENED?
Sushanta Choudhury (22) hacked Sutapa Choudhury (21) to death in Behrampore's Surjya Sen Street on Monday evening. This incident was caught on CCTV camera.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the victim's father, Swadhin Kumar Chowdhury, said that the accused had been threatening his daughter.
He told the media that the duo were in a relationship three years ago, but later broke up. Chowdhury said that Susanta had started blackmailing and threatening his daughter. He also added that the family sought the local councillor's help to make the boy understand that Sutapa wanted to continue her studies and that he shouldn't disturb her.
The daily also reported that the accused called the girl around 7 pm on the pretext of settling an argument but attacked her as soon as she stepped out.
The police have arrested Sushanat, who was trying to flee to Malda in a truck. He was caught at the Samserganj checkpoint. He had not changed the shirt that he had worn while committing the crime.
The police also found the blood-stained dagger from his luggage. Some of his Facebook posts referred indirectly to Sutapa and talked about taking revenge against her for leaving him. He even threatened to allegedly end her life through that post.
Local reports have also shown that he had bent the fence spikes near the scene of the crime. According to police, this was the road taken by him to escape.
Initial investigation into his social media posts also reveal that the murder was 'pre-planned'.
Evidently, a brutal murder of a college student in West Bengal's Berhampore is being shared with a false communal angle.