The incident evidenced wider sectarian tensions in Telangana.
by Marco Respinti
On May 7, the governor of the Indian state of Telangana, Tamilisai Soundararajan, received a high-profile delegation of local politicians. They demanded justice for Billapuram Nagaraju, a 25-year-old Hindu Dalit man who had been killed on May 4.
As the police reported, Nagaraju’s assassins are Syed Mobin Ahmed and Mohammed Masood Ahmed, who have been arrested. Syed Mobin Ahmed is the brother of Ashrin Sultana, the 23-year-old wife of the victim, and Mohammed Masood Ahmed is another relative.
With a pretext, Syed Mobin Ahmed got hold of Nagaraju’s cell phone and installed in it spyware to track his movements. Then, when he was returning home with his wife, the two relatives attacked him with knives and killed him.
The desperate wife cursed her brother and the other assassin in an emotional television statement.
The killing does not arise from a family dispute, and attempts to explain it with the fact that the girl’s family did not approve her marriage to a Dalit for social reasons are also unpersuasive.
In fact, Nagaraju is a Hindu and Ashrin is a Muslim. Under Muslim law, a non-Muslim man cannot marry a Muslim woman. Many do, but at their own risk, as the case of Ashrin demonstrates. Relatives may claim that only a “honor killing” can punish the infidel and take away the family’s shame.
The fact that Syed Mobin Ahmed, who is almost illiterate, was able to install spyware on Nagaraju’s phone may also suggest broader complicities, within a context where deeper sectarian problems are far from having been solved.