Close on the heels of the murder of a man over his relationship with a girl of a different faith in Belagavi, yet another hate crime over an interfaith relationship has taken place at Almel taluk of Vijayapura district in Karnataka. A 32-year-old man was killed by two family members of a woman of different faith he was in love with.
Ravi Nimbaragi, who went missing on October 21, was found dead in a well two days later in Balaganur village, which is just 16 km away from Sindagi, where several top leaders of all parties are stationed for the upcoming October 30 bypoll.
According to Ravi’s younger brother, Shashidhar left his house in Balaganur around 5 pm on October 21 to get groceries and never returned home.
Speaking with News9, 24-year-old Amreena said she was in love with Ravi for the past 10 years.
“Our family and Ravi’s family were staying in our houses constructed in our respective fields which were in the outskirts of the village. Our families used to visit each other. Since then, Ravi and I have been in love. Initially, nobody knew about our relationship, but five years ago, my family came to know about it and they thrashed and disowned me. I left my house and was living alone in Balaganur village.”
According to villagers, Ravi and Amreena’s love affair had recently created tension among the two families. To resolve the issue, a panchayat was called and the village elders had asked Ravi to stay away from the girl.
But it did not happen, and the duo continued to be in touch with each other. It only angered Amreena’s family members.
What happened on the fateful day?
Recalling the horror, Amreena said, on October 21 evening, Ravi called her and said he was being thrashed.
“Ravi called me around 7 pm that day, he told me that he was being beaten. Before he could say anymore, the call was disconnected. I ran towards Ravi’s fields. On the way, I saw his slippers and a bag filled with groceries. They had taken him away. I ran towards my house thinking that my relatives might have taken him there but everything was quiet there. I rushed to Ravi’s house and informed his family members about the situation. Then I rushed inside the jungle in search of Ravi.”
According to Shashidhar, he along with his family members searched for his brother but they did not find him.
“Around 7:30 pm, Amreena came to our house and told us that Ravi was being thrashed. We called on my brother’s phone. It was busy for a long time and then later it was switched off. We rushed to the spot and found my brother’s slippers and a bag. We screamed and searched the whole night but could not find my brother.”
Amreena also said that she was scared and feared for her life as she suspected her family might come looking for her.
“I was clueless. I sat on a rock for a long time as I had no idea whom to approach. Finally, I dialled 100 and from there I was asked to call 112. After I called 112, sometime later a police team arrived at the spot where I was sitting and I explained everything to them. I also told them that my relatives might be involved in Ravi’s kidnapping.”
As Amreena’s life was under threat, the police took her to the Almel police station. Next day, Ravi’s family approached the police and filed an official missing complaint.
Based on the complaint, Almel police started the probe and formed three teams and started looking for the suspects.
Police detained eight people including the woman’s relatives and started questioning them.
According to the police, during the course of interrogation, Amreena’s brother and her uncle confessed to the crime.
“We had received a missing complaint about a man named Ravi from his family members. They had named a few people. We formed three teams and nabbed a few suspects in the case. During the interrogation, 40-year-old Bandenawaz Gote (Amreena’s uncle) and 22-year-old Imam Sab Thambe (Amreena’s brother) confessed to the crime. We are looking for more suspects in the case and we are searching for them,” Vijayapura SP HD Anand Kumar said.
The police also said that the accused strangled Ravi with a rope and had tied a boulder to his body and threw him in a well. The accused have been booked under IPC section 302 (murder) and further probe is underway.
The police have kept Amreena in a women’s hostel under police protection as she fears for her life from her family members.
This is the second such incident in a month in the state. On September 28, a man named Arbaaz Mulla was killed and thrown on the railway tracks in Belagavi district over an interfaith relationship. The cops had arrested 10 people including the girl’s parents for giving a contract to a few Sri Ram Sene Hindustan activists.