Haryana: Nitika Tomar’s murder being used to fuel ‘love jihad’, hate politics?

Family alleges that police ignored their 2018 complaint of harassment; police maintain the family did not want to take action


Instead of rallying for the zero tolerance policy against sexual harrsement, stalking and crimes against women, many are busy playing hate policics and fueling ‘love jihad’ rumours in the wake of the horrific murder of 21-year-old Nitika Tomar in Faridabad on Monday. The young woman was shot dead, and the act caught on CCTV,  by a man whose sexual harassment she had been resisting for a long time, and his accomplice. The accused identified as Tausif, and Rehan, are obviously Muslim, and have been arrested, but cries of ‘love jihad’ and #KshatriyaLivesMatter continue to rise along demands for their execution via a ‘police encounter’.

According to a report in India Today, protesters blocked the Mathura highway demanding strict action against the two accused. They had earlier broken into a shop in Faridabad and created a ruckus, after the local police reached the protesters staged a demonstration and blocked the road. The woman’s family was reported to be a part of the dharna. 

Nitika Tomar’s murder on Monday afternoon, was caught on CCTV and the footage of her being shot dead outside her college in Ballabgarh in Haryana’s Faridabad district went viral on Tuesday, leading to massive online rage demanding death for the accused, and running with hastags of ‘love jihad’ and  #KshatriyaLivesMatter. The video clip showed how the accused tried to grab Tomar who tried her best to save herself.  When she resisted and foiled the abduction attempt, one of the accused pulled out a revolver and shot her dead at point blank range. Within hours the two accused were arrested by Haryana Police.

It was when they were identified as Muslim that the outrage blew up. The accused, Tausif and Rehan, are both residents of Haryana. According to news reports the victim’s family has also called this a case of ‘love jihad’. The family has claimed that Tomar was attacked outside her college by a man who was stalking her, and the second accused is his associate. According to the India Today report they had even filed a complaint with Haryana Police, against the main accused accusing him of kidnapping in 2018. However that issue ‘was settled’ later. The news report quotes Haryana Police Commissioner who said, “in 2018, Nikita’s family filed a kidnapping case against Tausif but the family later said they did not want to take action.”  It is not clear why the family did not pursue the case to safeguard their daughter.



Now after the girl has been killed in such a brutal manner, the news reports state that her mother has said she will not cremate the body until the accused is “encountered.” India Today quoted the victim’s sister who pinned the blame on Haryana Police, “when the boy tried to kidnap our sister in 2018, police didn’t do anything and instead asked us to reach a reconciliation. The boy was asking her to convert and marry him. Our sister obviously didn’t agree.” 

According to Zee news, the accused, Tauseef and Rehan, were produced before a court in Faridabad district and sent to two-day police remand. The report added that Tauseef’s family has “strong political connections” and is related to Haryana Congress MLA Chaudhary Aftab Ahmed who represents Nuh (Mewat). That is all the RW social media influencers need as a talking point.



The Congress, meanwhile, has put the issue of women’s safety in the country, and BJP governed Haryana at the Prime Minister’s doorstep.



While the local police continue their investigations, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo motu cognisance of the Faridabad murder. Chairperson Rekha Sharma said, “NCW is taking suo motu cognizance of the incident and writing to DGP Haryana to nab the other accused.”



Rekha Sharma, who hails from Haryana and was an active BJP politician before her appointment to the NCW, was recently in the news talking about the bogey of “love Jihad” a communal term used by trolls who attack Hindu-Muslim couples, esecially where the male partner is a Muslim. She had discussed “the rise in love jihad” with Maharashtra Governor BS Koshiyari, when on a visit to Mumbai to review the implementation of schemes meant for women. The term once again has resurfaced to feed on the murder of an innocent young woman.



Trolls have been busy asking for ‘revenge’ and peddling bizarre booklets which “promise a comprehensive look into Love Jihad, the mechanism of coercing young women into changing their religion through various tactics”. 

Meanwhile, Haryana Cabinet Minister Anil Vij has, however, claimed that in 2018, the victim and her father had denied the kidnapping charges against the accused. According to India Today TV, Anil Vij said the victim and her father submitted an affidavit on the 2018 FIR, saying there was no kidnapping, and added that Tomar’s  family had refused to pursue the case. The news report also quoted the victim’s brother who said, the police had arrested the accused in 2018 but “after talks in a panchayat, the matter was settled.”

Unfortunately, calling this cold blooded murder ‘love jihad’ turns it into a communal issue, and takes away from it being a serious lapse of security for women. As CPIML politburo member Kavita Krishnan posted, “The communal hatred in the Faridabad stalking case actually helps stalkers, because it spreads the notion that stalkers are a problem ONLY if they happen to be from the “other” community. Stalkers from the same community are able to pass off, culturally, as lovers”





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