NEW DELHI – Police in the western Indian state of Rajasthan detained on Thursday a man accused of killing and burning a Muslim, capturing the act on camera and allegedly circulating it with a death threat for all Muslim men who, according to him, married Hindu women to convert them.
In a press conference, the Director General of Police in Rajasthan, Om Prakash Galhotra, said that videos of the crime, which took place on Wednesday in the Rajsamand district, went viral on social networks, making it a sensitive incident.
“As per instructions of the home minister, we formed a SIT (Special Investigation Team), they acted quickly on it and arrested the accused within 24 hours,” said Galhotra.
“We will not tolerate anything against the peace of Rajasthan,” he added.
Images of the crime spread rapidly, leading authorities to shut down internet access in the area to stop its circulation, local media reported.
The video shows the accused repeatedly hitting another man with an ax and later setting him on fire.
The accused also allegedly said that this was the destiny of those who wage “love jihad,” a term used by Hindu extremist groups to accuse Muslims of marrying Hindu women in order to convert them to Islam.
“This will be your end. Love-Jihad should be finished. Otherwise, every Indian will stand up and kill each one of you,” the arrested man said in another video.
Clashes between Hindus and Muslims have occurred repeatedly in India, with instances of large-scale violence in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat – in 1992 and 2002 respectively – leading to thousands of deaths.
In recent months, there have been multiple attacks by Hindu hardline groups against Muslims, accusing them of transporting or storing the meat of cows, considered a sacred animal in Hinduism, with authorities showing a lack of action against the perpetrators and keeping an ambiguous posture.
According to the last census of India in 2011, Hindus form 78.8 percent of the population of India, with Muslims making the second biggest religious group at 14.2 percent.