The Telegraph
Sunday , December 2 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aamir guest death probe

- Akhilesh govt tiptoes to avoid hurting community sentiment

Lucknow, Dec. 1: The state government has ordered a magisterial probe into the murder of Aamir Khan’s TV show guest, senior officials attributing the eight-day delay to “cautious handling” to avoid hurting Muslim sensibilities.

Victim Abdul Hakim, 28, had told Aamir’s Satyamev Jayate he had received threats for marrying against the wishes of wife Mehwish’s family. Mehwish, 25, has alleged her husband was gunned down in public on her family’s orders at the western Uttar Pradesh village of Adauli in Bulandshahr on November 22.

The probe, ordered yesterday, will determine whether community leaders too had a role in the murder.

Mehwish has alleged that a kangaroo court at Adauli, which her family approached after her marriage in July 2010, had ordered the couple murdered and announced a Rs 50,000 reward for the killing. She says the couple fled to Delhi after this but returned with their baby daughter last month hoping to be “forgiven”.

A senior Muslim minister, who didn’t wish to be quoted, appeared to cast doubt on the alleged community involvement and said the state government wanted to handle the matter with utmost sensitivity.

“Innocent community leaders should not be unnecessarily harassed because, unlike khap leaders, Muslim clerics never instigate these murders,” he said.

Rajnita Srivastava, a Lucknow-based social worker and researcher, too said that unlike khap panchayat-ordered murders among Hindus, “honour killings” among Muslims generally did not involve community leaders.

“It’s the (offended) family that targets couples,” she said.

“These killings have nothing to do with Islam and are a result of the medieval mindset of some families,” Jubair Ahmed, a researcher in social issues at leading seminary Darul Uloom, said over the phone from Deoband.

But first of all, the magisterial probe will determine whether the murder was indeed linked to a family’s “honour” or whether, as local police have claimed, it resulted from a feud between two families, state revenue minister Ambika Chaudhary said.

“We need to go into the social as well as criminal dimensions of the incident,” he added.

The police have arrested all the five persons named in the FIR by Hakim’s brother Yusuf. They include one of Mehwish’s brothers, a cousin, two men allegedly hired to do the killing, and another villager.

State Khadi Gramodyog chairperson Riyaz Ahmed, who enjoys the status of a minister of state, visited Hakim’s family today and said Mehwish would be paid Rs 5 lakh from the chief minister’s relief fund.

The state government had to act because of the high profile the murder has acquired, with Aamir joining social activists in condemning it. Former chief minister Mayawati has slammed the administration’s failure to protect Hakim despite the couple having informed police about the threat to them.