Shambhulal Regar, the man accused of killing a Muslim labourer on camera and burning his body in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand town on December 6, is expected to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Agra in 2019. He is currently lodged in the Jodhpur jail.
The Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena will field him from the Agra seat, which is reserved for candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes. The party said Regar has accepted its offer and is confident he will win the seat, the Hindustan Times reported.
“If a person is accused in a murder case it does not mean he is a murderer,” the party’s National President Amit Jani was quoted as saying. “Regar has the constitutional right to contest election till his conviction.”
“I have been in touch with him for a long time now and I am pleased to say that he has agreed to be our candidate from Agra,” Jani added, according to News18. “We want only Hindutva faces to contest elections on our party’s tickets and there can be nobody better than him. We will soon make a formal announcement.”
“There will be objections from parties which have otherwise given tickets to people like Atiq Ahmad, Mukhtar Ansari and Shahabuddin and got them elected in the name of secularism,” Jani added. “These parties will oppose the candidature of Shambhulal Regar who comparatively faces lighter charges than many others contesting elections.”
Atiq Ahmad, who faces well over 40 criminal cases, including murder charges, has contested several elections from jail. He has been affiliated to the Samajwadi Party in the past. Ansari is another don-turned politician in Uttar Pradesh who has previously associated with both the Samajwadi Party as well as the Bahujan Samaj Party. Mohammad Shahabuddin is a former Rashtriya Janata Dal legislator who is facing trial in about 45 cases, including several murders.
A video of Shambhulal Regar’s attack had gone viral on social media in December. It shows Regar attacking his victim and setting the body on fire and is one of several videos in which Regar criticised Muslims and called them “jihadis”.
The victim was Mohammad Afrazul, a 48-year-old labourer who had migrated from Malda district of West Bengal and was working in the construction industry in Rajsamand. Regar had claimed he killed Afrazul to save a woman from “love jihad”, a term often used by Hindutva groups to accuse Muslim men of entrapping Hindu women on the pretext of love in order to eventually convert them to Islam.
The videos were recorded by Regar’s 14-year-old nephew, who was also detained by the police.
In one of the videos, which only the police accessed, Regar refers to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised homosexuality in India at the time, and said something indistinct about Supreme Court judges, according to a police official.