Shraddha Walker’s murder by Aftab Poonawala is horrifying. But communal angle is even more terrifying.

Aftab Poonawala murdered his live-in girlfriend Shraddha Walker on 18 May 2022 in Delhi. He had allegedly cut Shraddha’s body into 35 pieces and disposed of them over a period of 20 days, as per some news reports, during which he stored the mutilated corpse in his refrigerator. Aftab Poonawala was arrested after 5 months by Police following an investigation by the Police after Shraddha’s father filed a missing complaint.

Old Photo of Aftan Poonawalla with Shraddha Walker

The murder sent shockwaves down the spine of almost everybody who came across its gruesome nature. However, reactions post the initial shock had taken an unexpected turn and are heading into a more diabolical rhetoric. Now, the murder is being used to create a communal tension and is being spin off into a case of ‘Love Jihad’.

Read More: ‘Love Jihad’ conversion rate card is more than a decade-old fake news

There are many hateful memes, videos, posts shared in social media by right-wingers, and we have covered it in a separate article.

Read More: Gruesome murder case in Delhi referred with brutal memes with no conscience on social media

The mere fact that the culprit is a Muslim Man and the victim is a Hindu Woman is enough for these hate spreaders who claim Love Jihad. There are others who blame the murder on the ‘live-in’ relationship the couple were in which includes Union Minister Kaushal Kishore and a popular Muslim cleric.

Screenshot of the NDTV article.

Suresh Chavhanke, the Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan TV, which is a popular right-wing channel in Hindi, had made a tweet asking how an interfaith marriage can take place in Mumbai’s Vasai, Aftab’s native place. The marriage has been subsequently cancelled according to a news report from News Laundry.

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Later, Suresh Chavhanke tweeted that the interfaith wedding has been cancelled.

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The ‘journalist’ had recently claimed that a murder of a teenager in Delhi was an act of Jihad with an insinuation that the murderers were Muslims. But all the parties involved in the murder, including the victim, were Hindus and the Police denied any communal angle to the crime.

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Read More: Teenage boy’s murder is being used to create communal tension between Hindus and Muslims.

Similarly, Suresh Chavhanke had shared a false video with a claim that a student was beaten by a “Christian” teacher for wearing a ‘Rudraskha’.

Read More: Is it the video of a TN government school student beaten up for wearing Rudraksha ?

Suresh Chavhanke had even insinuated that the Pakistan flag was shown in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra when in fact it was the flag of the Indian Union Muslim League.

Read More: Did Bharat Jodo Yatris hold Pakistan flag during the march?

If we follow carefully, there is a pattern in these selective outrages by Suresh Chavhanke and his Sudarshan TV News, which is, hatred for Muslims. This pattern is followed by many in the right-wing ecosystem and the hatred is incentivized continuously. The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had said in the past that those who indulge in violence can be identified by their clothes, again insinuating Muslims, during the Anti-CAA protests.

There have been various calls of economic and social boycott of Muslims as well by various leaders of the BJP and other right-wing organizations. See here and here.

Coming back to the murder of Shraddha, the sheer hatred spread against Muslims is bone chilling. BJP’s spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga had tweeted this image.

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Some of the claims range from bizarre to mind numbingly stupid. For eg. Shraddha’s murder by Aftab Poonawala is used to claim Love Jihad but if that is so, how could it be beneficial to kill the woman? This one-off murder by an individual is used to paint all Muslims will murder Hindu women after marrying them or getting into a relationship but at the same time, claim Love Jihad. This is a brutal murder which deserves universal condemnation and the strictest punishment by the law of the land. But this incident shouldn’t have led to the hatred that is spreading now.

There are dozens of murders committed each year by boyfriends belonging to Hindus and also Christians, Muslims as well. We have compiled the list below to highlight some of these crimes.

But these do not fit the narrative that the BJP and the right-wing supporters want to create. There is a constant messaging that Muslims are out to get Hindu women and to stop that, it is claimed that Muslims should be shown their place. The hatred stems from the sexual anxiety all fascist movements go through, and it can be compared to the lynching of Black Men during the 19th century by the Whites in America and the murdering of Jews by the Nazis during the Third Reich on the fears that Blacks would ‘usurp’ White women and Jews would ‘attract’ Aryan women.

Snippet from an article from “The Guardian”

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According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) report, there have been a total of 1566 murders involving Love Affairs in a total of 29,272 murders in the year 2021. But there is no data on how many of these murders were committed with an interfaith couple in the backdrop with a Muslim being the male and a Hindu being the Female.

All the hatred spread about Love Jihad and alleged murders of Hindu women committed by Muslim men are not backed up or substantiated by any iota of evidence. The rhetoric is a political tool often used by the right-wing to garner support from the Hindu majority in the country by fear mongering.

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Ramasamy Jayaprakash

Ramasamy works as a Senior Sub-Editor at YouTurn and writes articles in Tamil and English. He also makes videos for YouTurn's Tamil & English YouTube channels.
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