A CCTV camera in a neighbourhood of Hyderabad caught in its frames last evening a young man lying on a road in Hyderabad in a pool of blood, with his face smashed beyond recognition with iron rods, while his wife valiantly fought off his attackers. The man, a Hindu, was killed by two cousins of his Muslim wife, the police say. B Nagaraju and Syed Ashrin Sulthana, described in reports as “childhood sweethearts”, had got married three months ago.
At about 8:45 PM yesterday, the couple had just left home on their motorcycle when two men blocked their way and attacked them with an iron rod. Security footage shows a crowd rapidly gathering at the spot but no one trying to stop the attack. Many had their mobile phones out, recording the crime.
On camera, Nagaraju appeared lifeless, his face a lump of bloodied mass, as his wife screamed for help. In another video, Sulthana was seen lunging at one of the attackers, bravely holding off the weapon as he tried to hit Nagaraju again. Witnesses were seen rushing towards the attacker and fighting him off.
The Hindu victim seems to have died within seconds on the spot, at a public place where nothing could save him, not even a crowd.
The attackers fled but they were caught on security cameras and the videos that eyewitnesses had recorded. The police have formed teams to arrest the killers seen on camera.
Nagaraju and Sulthana had married on 31 January at an Arya Samaj temple against the wishes of her family in the old quarters of Hyderabad. They had known each other since they were students in Class 10.
Sulthana had changed her name to Pallavi after the wedding and Nagaraju’s family says he wanted to convert to Islam. Her family had allegedly threatened Nagaraju and had told him to stay away from her.
The gruesome killing has sparked tension in the Saroornagar area of Hyderabad. Local BJP activists have launched protests demanding tough action.
“A person was killed by two persons. The victim was travelling on a motorcycle with his wife. They got married recently and both belonged to different communities. Brothers of the deceased’s wife today assaulted Nagaraju and then attacked him with a rod and killed him on the spot,” said Sreedhar Reddy, a police officer.
The wife of the victim told reporters that five people had attacked her Hindu husband on the road. She also said she had known Nagaraju for over 11 years.