Religious conversion has become a flashpoint issue for Hindu nationalists in recent years
Indian police on Thursday arrested a Hindu man over the murder of a Muslim labourer after identifying him from a video of the brutal killing that went viral and has sparked widespread outrage.
The footage shows a man hitting labourer Afrazul Khan with a pickaxe and a machete before pouring kerosene over his body and setting it alight.
Afterwards the attacker can be heard warning against so-called “love jihad,” a term used by religious radicals in India to accuse Muslims of marrying Hindu women in order to convert them.
At 8pm: the only story that should matter today, that should make you sick to the stomach – the brutal murder of a Muslim man in Rajasthan in the name of “love jihad”. He was first hacked with an axe,then burnt alive. Why is @VasundharaBJP silent? Is Muslim hate the new normal ?
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) December 7, 2017
The killing occurred in western Rajasthan state, which has seen a series of vigilante attacks on Muslims in recent months.
Most of the attacks have been related to the transporting of cows, which Hindus consider sacred, by so-called “cow protection” groups who roam highways inspecting livestock trucks.
The state’s police chief OP Galhotra told reporters the suspect had been charged with murder, calling it a “brutal crime.”
Shocking! Another Muslim burnt alive in Rajasthan. These ghastly murders in the name of ‘Gauraksha’ & ‘love Jihad’ by goons are abetted by a complicit State machinery, esp in BJP ruled States https://t.co/Xcpl8NyYmf
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) December 7, 2017
Police have also detained the suspect’s 14-year-old nephew, who they say recorded the killing.
Religious conversion has become a flashpoint issue for Hindu nationalists in recent years.
Last month, thousands of copies of a controversial booklet were distributed to students at an event in Rajasthan warning Hindu girls of “love jihad.”
I’ve seen a video of ISIS terrorists beheading a man. Today I saw a video of a Muslim man being hacked and then burnt to death in the name of Love Jihad by a Hindutva terrorist in Rajasthan. The lack of popular and political outrage is appalling. Sorry, India, we’ve let you down!
— Sanjiv Bhatt (IPS) (@sanjivbhatt) December 7, 2017
In April a 20-year-old Muslim man was lynched in eastern Jharkhand state for dating a Hindu woman.
Critics say vigilantes have been emboldened since the election of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party in 2014.