Telangana honour killing: BJP ticket for slain Dalit man’s widow?

Hyderabad: If sources from the BJP are to be believed, the party’s state leadership is reportedly trying to win over Syed Ashrin Sultana, alias Pallavi, so that at an appropriate time she could be given a ticket to contest in the elections from somewhere in Telangana. Her husband Nagaraju was murdered in public view last week by Pallavi’s brother, and others.

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She may be put up as a candidate where there are substantial Dalit voters in the constituency.

The murder of Nagaraju, a Dalit man from Marpally village in Vikarabad district of Telangana, (who married Syed Ashrin Sultana alias Pallavi) has come out to be an issue of caste and inter-faith killing (Nagaraju reportedly offered to convert to Islam, but it was not accepted by his wife’s family), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is working hard to hijack the issue for political gains by turning it into a Hindu-Muslim binary.

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Soon after the murder, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) got into action and has been trying to draw maximum political mileage through the case. A few leaders went to the extent of creating religious animosity by giving it a communal colour in spite of the fact that it was an issue between two individuals.

Nevertheless, the murder was condemned by people of all caste, creed and religion. The All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi also vociferously condemned the incident and termed it an act that is against “Islamic teachings”. Muslim religious and social organisations also condemned it strongly.

However, BJP leaders are competing amongst themselves and participating in television shows, visiting the house of the widow Syed Ashrin Sultana (alias Pallavi), and have been giving interviews at the murder spot demanding stringent punishment to the accused who is Pallavi’s brother Mobin Ahmed.

The other accused who was arrested is her brother-in-law Masood. Ashrin Sultana converted to Hinduism after marriage to Nagaraju, who according to her had also offered to convert to Islam (which was rejected by the widow’s family).

BJP Telangana president Bandi Sanjay said in a statement: “It is purely a communal incident and we want the government to expose the communal elements behind the murder.”

If one checks the background of the case, Nagaraju and Ashrin Sultana alias Pallavi got married in January, against the wishes of her family members. Both of them are from the same village and have been friends for a long time. The marriage, however, did not go well with the family of Ashrin Sultana.

According to sources, before the marriage, Mobin Ahmed had warned his sister Ashrin Sultana about meeting or speaking to Nagaraju. Yet she went ahead – as a major who is above 18 years of age she has legal rights to do so – and got married to Nagaraju at Arya Samaj in the Old City.

Mobin felt humiliated after his sister got married to Nagaraju. “Over a period of time his frustration increased as relatives and his friends taunted him or gossiped about Ashrin marrying Nagaraju. Hence, he decided to take revenge on Nagaraju believing that he had trapped his sister, converted her to Hinduism, and married her,” said police sources.

Gathering information about Nagaraju who left his village after marriage was not difficult as Nagaraju and Mobin Ahmed had several common friends in the village.

Coming back to the BJP’s plans, party leaders want to utilize the opportunity to win over the Dalit community by showcasing the murder as a “Dalit – Muslim” issue. If sources in the party are to be relied upon, the BJP’s leadership is seeing it as a burning issue to win over Dalits by dubbing the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party as a “Muslim friendly party”.

A delegation from the BJP also met governor Tamilasai Soundararajan on Sunday and gave a representation while Goshamahal BJP MLA T Raja Singh, known for his hate speeches. met Pallavi at her native place. He demanded the administration provide a double bedroom house, a government job, and other benefits to the woman.

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