Rajsamand: Migrant labourer Afrazul who was brutally hacked and burnt by a fanatical unemployed man on Wednesday, lived with 24 labourers who shared four rooms in a rented single storey house in Rajsamand’s Dhoinda, about 300 km south of Jaipur.
Fifty-year-old Afrazul also worked as a labour contractor facilitating fellow villagers from Malda’s Sayadpur village in West Bengal find work here. They earlier lived in Kakoli, another area of the district and had moved into this house just over a month ago.
The father of three apparently had no vice.
“The only vice, he had was that he used to smoke bidis,” says Inaul Sheikh, Afrazul’s nephew who stays in the same accommodation.
He says Afrazul did not wrong anyone.
“Go to the labour market at Jhal Chakki and ask the people there who have seen him for the past 12-13 years. They will tell you what kind of a person he was,” he adds.
The man seen killing him in a video, Shambhu Lal Regar who was arrested on Thursday told police he killed Afrazul to save a woman from ‘love jihad’, a term used by right-wing Hindu groups to describe inter-faith marriages which they claim is an Islamist conspiracy to convert Hindu women through marriage or coercion.
But Inaul says he had nothing to do with it.
“If five or six years ago, some person from Malda took a girl from here what does it have to do with my uncle?” he asks.
Afrazul’s son-in-law Mosharaff Khan, another tenant in the same building, says his father-in-law had left for the labour market at around nine in the morning on Wednesday. “There was a drizzle. We were watching television when he had tea and left. At 11:30am, he called to say that some labourers need to transfer money back home and needed his help,” he said.
At 3 pm, Inaul got a call informing him that the owner of the bike whose registration number ended with 786 had met an ‘accident’. When Inaul reached the spot, police had cordoned off the area where the charred body of his uncle was lying. Afrazul was not very religious and occasionally offered the juma (Friday congregation) prayer.
Mosharaff says Afrazul gave Rs 12000 to him on his marriage. “Garib majdoor aadmi kitna dega (how much can a poor labourer give?)”quips Afrazul’s fellow worker Samiul Sheikh who has been living in Rajsamand on and off for the past 18 years and knew the deceased for a long time.
The labourers keep their families at home. They keep coming at regular intervals depending on employment.
Afrazul’s wife and three daughters live in Malda. The elder two daughters are married, while the youngest (16) is yet to be married.