A love story ‘murdered’ in Srinagar

Hindu boy marries Muslim girl. Muslim parents pay police to murder boy. Silly kids, falling in love. Have they no shame.

The Times of India…Rajneesh was a small trader from Jammu often going on business trips to Srinagar. He fell in love with a girl and married her.

He wanted to be faithful to his beloved from Srinagar, who was beautiful and had unflinching trust in her life partner. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to have love bloom between Jammu and Srinagar. But it was more than that. The boy from Jammu was a Hindu and the girl from Srinagar, a Muslim. Ameena was her name and she changed her name to Anchal Sharma after marriage.

A month after the marriage the boy was picked up from his Jammu house by the Kashmir police and taken to Srinagar for “investigation”. The police never registered his name, Rajneesh Sharma, as the accused who is being taken to Srinagar, but instead named his brother Pawan Sharma in police records, to confuse and hide the real identity.

The smell of a plot was there the moment they took the boy hustled in a jeep and covered with a blanket.

The boy never returned home to celebrate his first Diwali with Anchal nee Ameena.

He was found dead hanging with an iron grill in his Srinagar cell. Police said he committed “suicide”. An inconsolable Anchal alleged that her parents bribed police to murder her beloved because he dared to marry a Muslim girl from the valley. Anchal’s father works in Srinagar’s police department, hence the influence was obvious.

This week Anchal would have been celebrating Diwali with her husband Rajneesh but for if this ultimate Taliban act. Surprisingly the incident, so brutal and tragic hasn’t found an echo in the elite human-rightist circles of Delhi and the self-righteous media which had taken up the Rizwan case of Kolkata at a greater war footing than it has shown regarding Chinese incursions.

Rajneesh’s “murder” in a police post in Srinagar wouldn’t have occurred if Rajneesh was a “Rizwan” and the girl had remained an Ameena.

The writerati, who declare love’s supremacy whenever the boy is someone else and the girl is a Hindu (the final test one has to pass to be declared secular in this land of self-flagellation) are maintaining a studied silence. None has spoken so far. None has tried to invoke the wrath of the Women’s Commission, none has bothered to take a delegation of women to Jammu in the name of secularism and its prophets. And none has found it a deserving case for a heated debate on the sparkling channels discussing who should win — love or the colour of your faith?


Because the girl was a Muslim turned Hindu and the boy, unfortunately happened to be  Hindu. Because the culprit in this case is Srinagar, the reservoir of all that is sacred in secular pantheon and the boy belongs to the Hindu Jammu and hence anything that would demand a condemnation of the Taliban in Srinagar must be held back and forgotten?

The girl, Anchal nee Ameena, said sobbingly in Jammu that the Srinagar police tortured her husband just for his crime of marrying a Muslim girl. The mother of the girl knew about the affair but insisted the boy convert to Islam, which Rajneesh refused. Anchal says Rajneesh was tortured in the police custody putting pressure on him to convert and when he refused consistently, he was murdered. The Jammu papers have reported quoting the postmortem report that police tortured the boy in custody, broke his legs, crushed his knee, gave him electric shocks and peeled his nails before declaring his “suicide”. In cold blood.

In Srinagar. In a police post. He was married on August 21, “picked up” without an arrest warrant on September 29 and was found dead in police custody on October 4. Though a magisterial inquiry was ordered, no FIR was lodged till yesterday, that is, October 14, when a chief judicial magistrate in Jammu ordered an inquiry against 11 accused persons in Srinagar.

The Buddhists of Ladakh and the Hindus of Jammu have been complaining for long that Srinagar has become an alien land for them. It discriminates against them on the basis of religion. The Amarnath Shrine agitation is a recent pointer to what Srinagar does to its minorities. The forced exile of half a million Hindus from the valley is another example of the attitude that the only Muslim-majority state of India has exhibited towards non-Muslims. For a detailed factsheet regarding Srinagar’s blatant communal bias against Jammu, please see my column.

A couple of years before, the Buddhist Association of Ladakh gave a memorandum to the central government. A part of it said:

1. During 1992-99, 24 Buddhist girls from Leh district were converted to Islam and a majority of them were taken to Kargil and Srinagar.

2. Twelve villages with hamlets of Buddhists, comprising 651 families (numbering approximately 5,000) located at 40km to 60km from Kargil town were targeted for conversions. Till 2002, 72 boys and girls were converted to Islam, according to the survey conducted by the Ladakh Buddhist Association.

3. Muslims of Kargil are not allowing the LBA to repair and reconstruct a 40-year-old Gompa comprising three rooms and lying in a shambles.

4. Cremation of dead Buddhists is not allowed at Kargil and the body has to be moved at a remote Buddhist area.

5. No Buddhist sarai is allowed to be constructed at Kargil though there has been a demand for the last 35 years.

6. Kargil has 20% Buddhist population. Yet (a) only one Buddhist was appointed patwari out of 24 patwaris, the rest were all Muslims. (b) In 1998, 40 employees for Class IV were appointed in the education department; out of these only one was Buddhist, that too after his conversion to Islam.

Similar complaints, with proven statistics were given regarding discrimination against Buddhists in the area of Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS), admission to medical and engineering colleges and allocation of development funds received from the central government.

That’s Srinagar.

So who is going to help Anchal? She seems to be a courageous beloved of her “slain” husband and has been facing media crews with grit. She has refused an ex gratia grant by the state government and has demanded a CBI inquiry. The state leaders, who made a beeline to Shopian, have not bothered to say even a word of sympathy, leave aside visiting her.

Her only “crime”: she loved Rajneesh.

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