A Muslim man and 12 members of his family in Badarka village of Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district have converted to Hinduism in the hope that the police will now “properly investigate” his son’s death in the nearby Navada village, PTI reported on Tuesday.
Akhtar and his family changed their religion on Monday and submitted an affidavit to the area sub-divisional magistrate saying it was a voluntary conversion.
On Tuesday, the family conducted a “havan”, performed other Hindu rituals and changed their name, said Shaukendra Khokhar, state chief of Yuva Hindu Vahini (Bharat). Khokhar said Akhtar was upset because the police ruled his son Gulhasan’s alleged murder a suicide.
Baghpat District Magistrate Rishirendra Kumar confirmed that the conversion had indeed taken place, and said the matter was being examined by senior police officer Shailesh Kumar Pandey.
Akhtar’s family had moved from Badarka village to nearby Navada village “for better prospects” in January, according to The Indian Express. “We shifted because several of our relatives lived there, it is Muslim-dominated and because it is closer to Delhi, we expected better fortune,” said Gulhasan’s brother Dilshad. “We purchased a house and Gulhasan rented a shop to run a clothing store.”
Gulhasan was found hanging from the roof of his store on July 22. The family alleged that he was killed by business rivals and that they found injury marks on his body.
“We told police that it [Gulhasan’s death] was a planned murder but they told us that he committed suicide,” Gulhasan’s other brother Naushad told The Indian Express. Dilshad added that the villagers and their relatives in Navada did not help them.
“On July 11, our cousin Rajudeen had a scuffle with local residents,” added Dilshad. “No FIR was lodged in connection with the scuffle. Since we supported Rajudeen, people in the locality did not like us.”
After the family moved a court seeking an FIR into Gulhasan’s death, the police filed a murder case against four residents of Navada village on August 28. Kotwali Station House Officer Dinesh Kumar said no one was arrested because the autopsy said it was a suicide. “After the FIR was lodged, we sent the autopsy report to medico legal experts in Lucknow for their opinion,” he said. “After obtaining that, we will proceed further.”
Village leaders in Navada, however, claimed that Gulhasan’s family was making false allegations and that the man committed suicide because of a dispute.
The family decided to return to Badarka village in August. “Almost ostracised by our community, we decided to come back and also to convert,” said Naushad. “We will continue to fight for justice. We converted because our community did not support us. By embracing Hinduism we are expecting justice from our new community.”