K’taka Muslim man's dismembered body found, family alleges murder over interfaith relationship

An FIR has been filed against the father of the woman who was in a relationship with the victim Arbaaz, and Maharaj, allegedly a local Sri Ram Sene leader.
Arbaaz Aftab Mullah, the Muslim man in Karnataka who was found dismembered on railway tracks in Belagavi
Arbaaz Aftab Mullah, the Muslim man in Karnataka who was found dismembered on railway tracks in Belagavi
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A 24-year-old Muslim man, whose body was found dismembered on the railway tracks in Karnataka’s Belagavi district, was killed allegedly over his relationship with a Hindu woman, the victim’s family members have alleged. Arbaaz Aftab Mullah was found dead on the railway tracks between Besur and Khanapur railway stations on Wednesday, September 28, and though a case of suicide was initially suspected, Arbaaz’s mother in a police complaint has alleged the involvement of the woman’s father in her son's death.

A family member told TNM that Arbaaz and the woman had been in a relationship for the past year and had planned on getting married. The woman had told her family about the relationship a few months ago, and her family had opposed the relationship. The woman’s family is believed to have reached out to local leaders of the Sri Ram Sene as well over the issue, Arbaaz’s relative alleged. Arbaaz and his mother then began to receive threats from Sri Ram Sene leaders as well, who had warned Arbaaz not to meet the woman, the family member added.

In order to try and settle the issue and reach a compromise, last Sunday, September 26, Arbaaz and his mother had gone to Khanapur, where the woman stayed, their relative told TNM. Two days later too, (September 28) Arbaaz had gone to speak with the woman’s family, and Arbaaz's relative has alleged that he was murdered that night and his body was dumped on the railway tracks.

“On Sunday, there was a compromise between the family and the man. Sri Ram Sene leaders had called the mother to talk. They went to Khanapur and they spoke at the bus stand, where photos of the two were deleted from Arbaaz’s mobile phone, his phone was broken and thrown. They also warned him of consequences if he continued to talk to the woman. They had also demanded money,” Arbaaz’s relative told TNM.

On Tuesday, Arbaaz’s mother had gone out of town. He called her and said that he was continuously getting threat calls and that he is going to Khanapur to resolve the issue. Arbaaz had also sold his car for around Rs 90,000 in cash on Monday, September 27, probably to get money to pay off the threat, Arbaaz’s relative alleged. 

“On Tuesday, he left around 5 pm to speak to them and later we received a call from the railway police that a body had been found. His body had been dismembered into two parts, and his hands were tied, so we told the police that it could not be a suicide, it must be a murder,” the family member said. 

After Arbaaz’s body was found, his mother lodged a police complaint, naming the woman’s father for her son's death. She has alleged in the complaint that her son was murdered over his relationship with the Hindu woman. 

An FIR has been filed against three accused, including the woman’s father Kumbar, Maharaj, allegedly a local Sri Ram Sena leader, and another accused identified as Birje. The three have been charged under Section 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 201(Causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

No arrests have been made in the case yet. A police official from Belagavi told TNM that the case which was first registered by Railway officials has not been officially registered with Belagavi District Police yet, and the investigation is yet to be taken over from the Railway police. Sources told TNM that the police have made a preliminary list of suspects and that they are confident of nabbing the culprits.

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