NEW DELHI: A Hindu man in India tried to raise money for a campaign against minority Muslims by issuing an appeal for donations with a video he took and posted online showing him killing a Muslim, police said on Thursday.
The killing last week is the latest to roil India’s minority Muslims who have faced attacks from mobs who accuse them of killing cows, which Hindus consider sacred. Hindu fringe groups also campaign against Muslim men marrying Hindus.
Shambu Lal Regar, the suspect, has been arrested on suspicion of hacking and burning a Muslim labourer in the western state of Rajasthan, police said. Regar had posted a video of the attack along with his bank details for donations to finance his anti-Muslim campaign, police officer Anand Shrivastava said.
More than 700 people from across India deposited US$4,665 into the account. “The accused wanted to become a Hindu hero after killing a Muslim man, his main aim was to collect money after committing the hate crime,” said Shrivastava.
Regar’s video went viral on social media before authorities took it down. Police investigators had frozen the bank account and were tracking down donors, Shrivastava said. Shrivastava said the video had shown Regar claiming to be a proud Indian trying to stop “love jihad” – a term used by Hindu hardliners who accuse Muslim men of entrapping Hindu women and girls on the pretext of love in order to convert them to Islam.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who leads the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has been criticised for failing to do enough to stop attacks on Muslims. The government rejects that. Modi has condemned violence in the name of protecting cows.
Muslims account for 172 million of India’s 1.32 billion citizens and Modi’s critics say Hindu groups linked with his ruling party are trying to marginalise them. The BJP denies any bias against Muslims.