India: Just days after the brutal murder of Nagaraju over an interfaith relationship, 21-year-old Neeraj Panwar was attacked and stabbed to death in Hyderabad by four armed men on the evening of Friday, May 20. The police have suspected a caste-killing angle in the case, and that Neeraj’s wife’s family could have plotted the murder as they had opposed their marriage.
On Friday evening, Neeraj was attacked in the middle of the Begum Bazar fish market at around 7.30 pm. According to witnesses, four men intercepted Neeraj, who was on his two-wheeler along with his father, and attacked him with knives. Neeraj was rushed to a nearby hospital, however, he succumbed to his injuries. Speaking to the media, Neeraj’s wife Sanjana said she suspects the role of her cousin brother in the murder. She has also sought death penalty for those who attacked Neeraj.
CCTV footage from a shop at the market shows a few men with weapons resembling knives and sickles hitting and attacking the man driving two-wheeler, suspected to be Neeraj. The visuals show them fleeing the spot. A man tries to get up but falls to the ground. The video also shows some panicked people and passers-by trying to see what has happened.
The crime was carried out in a similar way as that of Nagaraju, the 26-year-old Dalit man who was also fatally attacked on a busy road in the presence of several people. Neeraj belonged to a Marwadi community, while his wife Sanjana belonged to the Yadav community. The couple had gotten married in a temple a year ago, against Sanjana’s parents’ wishes. The couple is parents to a three-month-old baby as well.
The victim’s family members told police that they suspect the involvement of Sanjana’s family in the murder, and the police are investigating their claims. Neeraj’s father Jagdeesh had earlier approached the Afzalgunj police saying that they were facing threats. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Neeraj’s wife Sanjana said she suspects the role of a cousin brother in the murder. She has also sought death penalty against those who attacked Neeraj.
The brutal attack on a busy crowded stretch shocked residents of the area, and mild tension prevailed. Neeraj’s family, friends and the traders of the Begum Bazar traders association staged protests in front of the Shahinayathgunj police station demanding justice. The traders have called for a one-day bandh on Saturday, protesting the murder.
Owing to this, the police have increased vigilance in the area. Assistant Commissioner of Police R Satish Kumar and the local MLA from BJP, Raja Singh visited the spot and spoke with the victim’s family. MLA Raja Singh condemned the incident and demanded stern action against the culprits.