“There is a belief amongst the public that the jihadis target only those who are associated with any Hindu organisation. … This belief is a misconception and that even Hindus who do not belong to any Hindu organisation are murdered. The very first murder shown in the documentary is of an ordinary Hindu, a milk vendor, who did not belong to any Hindu body. His only “mistake” was that he remained as a committed religious Hindu.” – Thamizhchelvan
In the end, the pilot documentary titled, “Tamil Nadu in the Grip of Jihad” says that 134 Hindus who opposed the Islamic terrorism and questioned the injustices committed against Hindus have been brutally murdered so far in the State. Out of the 134 murders, 12 murders have been documented in detail in the movie, clearly establishing the growth of fundamentalism in the state and how the Government is found wanting in its investigations.
There is a belief amongst the public that the jihadis target only those who are associated with any Hindu organisation. The documentary proves that this belief is a misconception and that even Hindus who do not belong to any Hindu organisation are murdered. The very first murder shown in the documentary is of an ordinary Hindu, a milk vendor, who did not belong to any Hindu body. His only “mistake” was that he remained as a committed religious Hindu.
An ordinary milk vendor
On 26 June 2013, on the busy Netaji Road in Madurai, a murderous gang descended upon the shop of one Suresh, a milk vendor by profession. As he tried to escape, Suresh was chased by the gang and repeatedly attacked. He was hacked about 48 times and died at the doorsteps of his shop. The murderers, after ensuring he was dead, walked across the road nonchalantly, wiping their scythe (the murder weapon) with a piece of cloth, as if they were just dusting it.
The entire sequence of the crime was recorded by a closed circuit camera at a nearby place and the same is shown in the documentary. It is a spine chilling clipping!
Suresh was a very religious person. He regularly participated in temple festivals, particularly Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and the annual festival commemorating the “Alighting of Lord Azhagar in River Vaigai”. He used to organize annadhanam (feeding the community) for devotees who came from various places to attend the festivals, within his capacity. The documentary shows Suresh’s younger brother, Chandrasekhar, saying that Suresh was not at all associated with any Hindu organisations, and that, he just used to feed a few thousand people during those festival occasions.
Describing the present state of affairs in his family, Chandrasekhar says, “My sister-in-law (Suresh’s wife) is laboring as a servant maid for the sake of their children’s education. With the resolve that their children should be taught in the same school where they were admitted to by my brother, she works in houses to make ends meet and is self-reliant. My sister’s husband died of heart attack two years before my brother was killed. She has two children, one aged 2 years and another aged 5 years. Both the children are afflicted with diabetes. My sister, who has been dependent upon my brother since the death of her husband, is crestfallen now”.
Chandrasekhar adds, “Unable to overcome the grievous loss, our parents spend every day in profound sadness. But, the murderers are still happy and fine. No punishment has been meted out to them … we spend our days in mourning! Whenever I see this place, I can feel my brother walking and talking with me. It is very painful. Our near and dear ones, particularly our relatives, fear to even keep in touch with us. Everyone is afraid. No one is willing to help us”.
The police added insult to injury when they alleged that Suresh was murdered as a result of an illicit affair. With this allegation the police gave the investigation a different direction and till date could not solve it. They have not even bothered to utilise the recorded clippings provided by the closed circuit cameras placed at nearby places along the busy Netaji Road in Madurai. One wonders why the police did not make full use of this vital evidence to apprehend the murderers immediately after the killing.
More shocking is the fact that the police have not bothered to pay serious attention to the information provided by Chandrasekhar regarding the visit of a few suspicious persons to the same spot where the crime was committed. Chandrasekhar says, “Six months after the cold-blooded murder, 6 Muslims came and inspected the scene of murder. They inspected the spots where all my brother ran for his life. They spied upon the area with more of their friends. Even a couple of weeks ago, 3 persons were standing in front of a shop by name Deepam Labs which is situated just opposite to our milk shop. They were standing there talking to each other for about an hour. When we informed the police, they didn’t pay serious attention to it and asked us to inform them when those persons visit again in future”.
The documentary points to two important scenes by showing footage from the recorded clipping. The first one shows a person accompanying the murderers of Suresh. He arrives at the spot before the murder takes place. After the murder, he vacates the place. He mingles with the crowd and inspects the scene and finally melts into the crowd. Who is this person? Did the police bother to find out?
The second one shows an auto arriving and stopping at the scene of crime, moments before it was committed; the auto driver alights before the murder was committed and drives away from the place immediately after the murder. Who is this auto driver? Why did he come? Did the police care to find out?
“No, the police didn’t care at all! For them, this vital video recording seems to be unimportant”, says the documentary.
Two months after the murder, police arrested two persons, M. Abdullah and Thoufiq Ali, from Nelpettai. Both confessed to have murdered Suresh with the help of Police Fakrudeen, Bilal Malik and Panna Ismail. However, before arresting the other three jihadis, the police claimed that Abdullah and Thoufiq Ali murdered Suresh as the woman with whom Suresh had an illicit affair was known to Abdullah.
The allegation that Suresh was murdered as a result of an illicit affair with a woman didn’t last long. It turned out to be false with the arrest of Bilal Malik and Panna Ismail, who were apprehended from their hideout in Puthur at AP-TN border on 5 October 2013, based on information provided by their accomplice Police Fakrudeen, who was arrested a day earlier on 4 October in Chennai.
During interrogation, they reportedly confessed that they have targeted Boothappan, state vice president of Hindu Munnani; Solai Kannan, district president of Hindu Makkal Katchi; Surendran, state vice president of BJP; and Thoodhai Selvam, state president of Shiv Sena, all belonging to Madurai. They confessed that they murdered Suresh as they could not identify and spot any of the targeted men on the said day. They have reportedly confessed that they had committed the heinous act as it was their religious duty to wage jihad against all those who are against Islam. They have also alleged that they were ordered to commit this murder by their leader, Amir.
Also, while Police Fakrudeen and Bilal Malik were taken to the crime scene, they reportedly told the police that they had killed Suresh as they were irritated by the bright religious marks he sported on his forehead. These two jihadis were also allegedly involved in placing pipe bombs along BJP leader Advani’s Yatra route in 2011.
It must be noted that these terrorists murdered Vellaiyappan, Hindu Munnani leader, on 1 July 2013 in Vellore and BJP leader Auditor Ramesh on 19 July 2013 in Salem. Had the police acted with alacrity and apprehended the terrorists immediately after the murder of Suresh on 26 June 2013, they could have saved two precious lives.
Instead, the Tamil Nadu police have always remained clueless about the rise of Islamic terrorism and movements of jihadis. They went to the extent of casting aspersions on the character of the victims by alleging that they were murdered due to illicit affairs, property disputes, money laundering, etc. It is not clear if the police have adduced such reasons on their own or under instructions from the government which bends to appease the minority community.
The documentary asks if the attitude of the police and government is so callous, what kind of investigation can one expect from them and will protection be given to those hapless families which have lost their breadwinners?
(To be continued…)
» Thamizhchelvan is an independent senior journalist in Chennai.
» The spine chilling murder sequence and the sad story of Suresh can be viewed from 0.00 mts to 8.20 mts on the video below.