Lucknow, Sept. 23: A cellphone was at the root of the murder that forced last week’s closure of Aligarh Muslim University, police said.
Three drug-addled youths, who allegedly stole cellphones and sold them to raise money for their addiction, were arrested today with a few stolen mobiles, including the one owned by Mazhar Naeem.
Mazhar was attacked when he tried to resist their attempt to snatch his cellphone near his hostel last Monday. He was declared brought dead at a local hospital.
Raghuveer Lal, Aligarh’s senior superintendent of police, confirmed that the motive was robbery.
“Mazhar, hit on the head with a blunt weapon, had a C-100 Samsung cellphone. They struck him when he tried to resist them. As he collapsed bleeding, they escaped with the cellphone.”
The C-100 handset, once a popular piece of gizmo, is believed to have a good resale value.
The trio, who the police identified as Ashraf, Tariq and Sadiq, are residents of Aligarh. A motorcycle and a country-made revolver, apparently used to hit Mazhar, have also been seized. Tests have confirmed that the traces of blood found on the weapon came from Mazhar.
A.K. Raghav, additional superintendent of the special task force, which assisted the local police in the probe, said the youths have confessed to their crime but claimed that they did not intend to kill Mazhar.
“We felt sorry when we learnt that he had died. We never wanted to kill him,” the police quoted Ashraf as saying.
Mazhar’s murder, the third to have taken place on the campus this year, triggered a student fury in which part of vice-chancellor P.K. Abdul Aziz’s home was burnt. Aziz was not in his residence during the late-night arson.
The proctor’s office and staff canteen were also ransacked and furniture smashed. University authorities have estimated the property damage at a few crores.
The number of ragging incidents in the past four mon ths across the country has more than tripled over the same period last year, an anti-ragging forum told PTI.
The Coalition to Up- root Ragging from Educ- ation said 52 cases were reported between May 21 and September 21 compared wi-th 15 in the same period in 2006, the for-um said.