Not even a month has passed since the story of the gruesome murder of 26-year-old Shraddha Walkar rocked India’s collective psyche, and the country is already reporting more possible cases of violence inspired by the heinous crime of Aftab Ameen Poonawala.
On November 29, a woman in the Dhule region of Maharashtra approached the police and reported that her Muslim partner, Arshad Salim Malik, was threatening to cut her into 70 pieces if she did not do as he pleased. The couple has lived together since July 2021.
The woman revealed that she is a widow who had lost her husband in a traffic accident in 2019. She also has a five-year-old daughter with her late husband. She met Arshad when she was surrounded by difficulties and, as she informed the police, he introduced himself as Harshal Mali. Presenting himself as a Hindu to vulnerable Hindu women is one of the traditional formulas adopted by jihadists for love in this part of the world, and as is clear from the victim’s statements, Arshad followed the formula to the letter.
She also claimed that Arshad had once taken her to the forest in the Laling village of Dhule. He there he raped her, made a video of the act and threatened to make the video public.
Despite this, or perhaps because of it, he eventually convinced the woman to move in with him. In July 2021, the “couple” went to Amalner to work on the affidavit of their cohabitation relationship. It was then that the woman learned that Harshal’s real name was Arshad Salim Malik and that he was a Muslim.
The woman also informed the police that Malik had forcibly converted her to his religion. But Arshad didn’t just convert the woman; according to his statement, he had also tried to convert his daughter. In detailing the torture inflicted on her, the woman recounted an instance in which the defendant burned her skin with a silencer when she opposed one of her ideas.
The woman eventually became pregnant with Arshad’s child and gave birth on August 26. Apparently, he continued to abuse her during her pregnancy and after her. She further claims that Malik’s father had also assaulted her. In another case, when she tried to go against one of her orders, Malik threatened to kill her, saying, “Shraddha was cut into 35 pieces, but I will cut you into 70 pieces.”
This is not the only case of crime against a Hindu for interfaith relations reported in Maharashtra in recent times. On November 21 in Nanded, Maharashtra, a young Hindu from the Scheduled Caste (SC) community named Swapnil Nageshwar was attacked with sticks and iron bars by a murderous Muslim mob. The victim received serious injuries, which ultimately led to his death. Nanded Police Station has filed a First Information Report (FIR) under IPC Section 302 and charged ten people in this case. The police stated that on Monday, November 21, the Muslim mob saw the two (the Muslim girl and the Hindu boy) as they were leaving a hotel. The crowd surrounded them, questioned the victim about what he was doing with the woman, and forced the couple into their vehicle. They took them a few kilometers away, where they began to attack them; Swapnil was fatally wounded in the fight and subsequently lost his life. The defendants were sent to ten days of preventive detention on Wednesday, November 24, while the investigations were carried out.
It’s unfortunate, but the incident that should have acted as a wake-up call for Hindus against romantic relationships with Muslims has emboldened some Muslims in India. Numerous such Muslims roam the streets of all Indian cities freely, intent on committing a crime against the hapless and naive Hindu women in true Aftab style.
Within days of this crime coming to light, Muslims in India and Pakistan formed Facebook groups praising Aftab Ameen Poonawala as their hero. One such Facebook group was “Aftab Poonawalla Fridge Posting”, in which Muslims openly mocked Shraddha’s bloody murder and posted disturbing memes about it. Aftab’s defenders are not just Muslim men. There were many Muslim women cheering Aftab’s terrible act. Interestingly, despite numerous reports, these puzzling posts enjoyed their space on the social media platform, and agents monitoring the platform’s community standards found nothing offensive in these posts.