Fazil murder in Karnataka: Killers’ car suspected to have followed another Muslim man

Fazil was killed a day after BJP Yuva Morcha worker Praveen Nettaru was murdered. The motives and connections between the killings are being probed.
Fazil murder in Karnataka: Killers’ car suspected to have followed another Muslim man
Fazil murder in Karnataka: Killers’ car suspected to have followed another Muslim man
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The Hyundai car that was used by the assailants of Fazil, a Muslim youth who was murdered in Karnataka’s Surathkal following the killing of BJP Yuva Morcha worker Praveen Nettaru, is suspected to have been following at least one other Muslim man in the region. Following the murder of BJP Yuva Morcha worker, Praveen Nettaru on July 27, the coastal region of Karnataka has been tense. A clear motive for Praveen’s murder still remains unknown. However, the very next day on July 28, a 24-year-old Muslim youth named Fazil was hacked to death near Surathkal by four unidentified masked men. He was a daily wage worker at HPCL who hails from Mangalpete near Surathkal. It is being probed whether Fazil’s murder was a retaliatory act. 

Meanwhile, police sources have told TNM that soon after Praveen’s murder, they had warned a few prominent Muslims in Surathkal that they could be targetted. One of the people who was given the heads up by the police is Abdul Salam, who has a shop near where Fazil was killed. Abdul Salam runs a small gold business in Surathkal. He informed the police at 5 pm on Thursday that a white car was repeatedly following him near the Surathkal junction. "I called the Surathkal police station inspector and informed him about this suspicious car. The car was going around the Surathkal junction area repeatedly. The inspector was busy with the Chief Minister's visit but the police immediately called back and noted down this information. This was hours before Fazil's death," Salam told TNM.

This is suspected to be the same car that was seen in the CCTV footage of Fazil’s murder. Fazil’s assailants had arrived in the white Hyundai car wearing monkey caps, and hacked Fazil to death outside a shop. 

A man named Ajeet Krasta has meanwhile been arrested in association with Fazil’s murder. Krasta is said to be the owner of the white Hyundai car seen in he CCTV footage of Fazil’s murder and had rented out the vehicle to his assailants. Police have not yet confirmed whether any others have been arrested or detained in the case. While a few reports claimed that Fazil was murdered because of a Shia-Sunni conflict as he had a love affair, this has been denied by both his family and the police. 

Fazil’s uncle Kadhar told TNM, “He did not have any kind of love affair nor there was any kind of enmity within the family. The whole story that is being spread in the media is inaccurate and totally fabricated. I was shocked to hear such a version in the media.” He further added, "We both go to work at HPCL twice a week. After completing his 2nd PUC, Fazil started working. He was intending to go to a Gulf country for a better job opportunity."

The murder of Praveen Nettaru has caused widespread unrest in the Dakshina Kannada district. Several right wing organisations have expressed their anger and staged protests demanding justice for his murder. On July 30, Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members stormed the residence of Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra in Bengaluru for the same.

On July 29, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was assigned the investigation into Praveen Nettaru's death, and the BJP government in Karnataka cancelled the events planned for the first anniversary of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai's tenure. On July 28, Chief Minister Bommai presented the family of Praveen Nettaru with a cheque for Rs 25 lakh.

With inputs from Prajwal Bhat and Mohammed Irshad

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