Why Does this Jodhpur Tableau of Ram Navmi feature Mohammed Afrazul’s alleged killer Shambu Lal Raigar?

The Hindu reports that a tableau on Shambhu Lal Raigar, who had allegedly hacked and burnt to death a 48-year-old Muslim labourerfrom West Bengal, Mohammed Afrazaul, at Rajsamand on December 6 last year, was taken out during a Ram Navmi procession in Jodhpur on Sunday. The tableau depicted a Raigar lookalike man with a pickaxe in his hand. Why is a killer being celebrated during Ram Navmi is the crucial question.

The look-alike has been dressed in clothes similar to what Raigar was wearing when he appeared on a video footage while killing Afrazul, a man bearing a striking resemblance with him sat on a throne-like chair in the tableau. For a brief duration, the tableau also showed a man lying in front of the Raigar look alike and the latter making a gesture of hitting him.

A huge banner hung at the tableau called upon Hindus to “protect [their] sisters and daughters and liberate the country from Love Jihad”. It stated: “Hindu bhaiyon jago, apni bahan beti bachaoLove Jihad se desh ko azad karana chahiye.”

The Hindu reports that a banner also carried pictures of the tableau’s sponsor, Shiv Sena leader Hari Singh, with folded hands, and Raigar along with a pickaxe.

Presently, Raigar is lodged in the Jodhpur Central jail pending his trial, had filmed the act of killing Afrazul and posted the video on social media.

Police were yet to take any action against the organisers. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Jodhpur East) Amandeep Singh said the police had not received any complaints. However, he said he had learnt about the tableau from the local media persons.

The procession marking Ram Navmi has been taken out in Jodhpur for the last 35 years. For more than a decade, it has been organised under the banner of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). The organisers claim that the tableaux generally depict the subjects of public interest and current affairs. The VHP, not known for its commitment to the rule of law or Constitutional Values, has often brazenly cone out in support of those actual accused in the brute Killings of minorities.

This is not the first instance of Raigar getting support from the hardline groups. A week after he was convicted, hundreds of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and VHP activists had taken out a protest march in Udaipur and clashed with the police at the Court Circle. The protesters had also unfurled a saffron flag on the District Court building.



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