Jaipur: The horrifying murder of a Muslim man in Rajasthan and his assailant's arrest has opened the floodgates of a torrent of hate online. Two days after the police lifted the block on social media in Rajasamand, multiple posts are doing the rounds that hail the killer, Shambhu Lal.
The police are currently questioning Shambhu Lal, who hacked 45-year-old Mohammad Afrajul to death, set his body on fire, and got his 13-year-old nephew to record the entire sequence on video. In the video, he is heard ranting against "love jihad", the term used by right-wing groups accusing Muslim men of drawing Hindu women into relationships and converting them.
In various messages circulating in Rajsamand and the neighbouring Chittorgarh districts, the killer -- whom the police have accused of murder, spreading communal hatred and criminal conspiracy -- is being hailed as an answer to 2001 parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The messages originate from various groups based in and around Rajasamand.
One such group, called Jhala Maan Singh, which reportedly operates from a town called Badri Sadri, around 100 km from Rajsamand. Another is called "Swach Rajsamand Swach Bharat", which is now deleted. Its administrator, Prem Mali, allegedly a BJP worker, was unavailable for comment.
Posts like "Beware love jihadis, Shambhu is active" has led to a sense of fear and apprehension in the district. The minority community in Rajasamand and its neighbouring district, Chittorgarh, says it wants the administration to act fast.
"After this incident, there is fear... made worse by the fact that people are posting all sorts of things online. We want the administration to act. Our children are scared to go out of the house," said MA Khan, the chief of the Muslim panchayat in Rajasamand town.
A WhatsApp group, called called "Times Of Chittorgarh" has promised to arrange financial support for Shambhu Lal's family. It has posted online the details of the bank account belonging to Sambhu Lal's wife Sita, so people wishing to help her can make a donation.
The police say they are aware of this and the cyber cell is monitoring posts online.
Two people have been arrested in Udaipur district's Mavli town for posting hate comments. The police, however, are yet to reveal what kind of posts they had made.
"If anything happens which qualifies as hate online, it will be dealt with very severely, especially if it is done to vitiate the atmosphere. The cyber cell is keeping an eye," said Manoj Kumar, a senior police officer from Rajasamand district.