The prime accused in the murder of 15-year-old Junaid Khan in Ballabgarh has confessed to stabbing the Muslim teenager, the Haryana Police said on Sunday. The man, whose identity is being withheld, was arrested from Maharashtra’s Dhule on Saturday, where he had found himself a job days after the incident.
Kamaldeep Goyal, a senior officer, told reporters that the accused had worked as a security guard in New Delhi before the incident took place. The man told police that he had initially stayed out of the altercation between Khan, his relatives and their fellow passengers on the train to Mathura, but that he later pulled out a knife and stabbed the boy, Goyal said.
However, nothing he has said during questioning confirms rumours that the fight broke out over claims that the Muslim family were “beef-eaters”, and more details will emerge as the interrogation continues, Goyal added. The accused said he had kept the murder weapon, though the police have not confiscated it yet.
The accused will be produced before a court and asked for consent to participate in an identification parade, Hindustan Times reported.
On June 22, Khan and three relatives had boarded a local train from Delhi’s Sadar Bazar Station. A fight broke out between some passengers and the brothers over seats. The incident allegedly turned communal after a mob repeatedly called the brothers “anti-nationals” and “beef eaters” and threw their skull caps on the floor. Junaid was killed in the fight, while his brothers were hospitalised with stab wounds.
Five others have been arrested by the police so far. The accused are currently lodged in Neemka Jail, Faridabad. The police said all of them claimed they did not wield the knife that killed Khan, but admitted to being a part of the mob that had hurled abuses at and manhandled the boys.
On June 28, citizens had gathered in at least 10 cities after Gurgaon-based documentary filmmaker Saba Dewan called for a peaceful protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. The protests gained traction in other parts of the country after the nationwide demonstrations.