As allegations of cattle smuggling and cow slaughter continue to cloud the murder of local Dalit VHP leader Arun Mahaur in Agra, investigations have revealed that the incident took place a day after an altercation between the victim and the main accused. On Sunday, the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal are expected to hold a meeting on the matter in Agra.
Senior police officials said Mahaur, the VHP district vice-president, heard of the complaint on February 24 — a day before he was shot dead — and there was a scuffle between Mahaur and Shahrukh.
“The locality is dominated by Mahaurs or members of the Koli community. Many of them have sold or rented their property. Shahrukh lived in one such rented accommodation. Mahaur used to live in that locality till three years ago, but he was still a local leader. On February 24, he went to talk to Shahrukh,” said B S Tyagi, Deputy SP (Chatta area), Agra.
“Mahaur was accompanied by local residents and, at some point, it seems Shahrukh was beaten up. Someone informed Shahrukh’s mother about it, and she arrived and pleaded with everyone to let her son go. She assured them that Shahrukh would mend his ways. At that point, Shahrukh shouted at his mother and asked her to stop begging,” Tyagi said.
Police said Shahrukh then went to his friends and told them he was going to kill Mahaur.
At 10.30 am on February 25, as Mahaur was returning to his furniture shop in Nai ki Mandi from a nearby temple, Shahrukh allegedly fired at him. Mahaur was declared “brought dead” at the hospital.
An FIR against five persons was registered under IPC sections of murder and rioting at Mantola police station. “All five accused — Shahrukh, Raja, Dilshad, Imtiaz and Abid — have been arrested,” police said.
Meanwhile, Mahaur’s family alleged a larger conspiracy behind his murder, claiming he was killed because of his work opposing cow slaughter. While the police maintained that none of the accused were involved in cattle smuggling or cow slaughter, Vinod Mahaur, the local VHP leader’s brother, said, “My brother was killed because he worked very hard to stop cow slaughter in this area. All the five accused are involved in beef trade. The beef trading nexus here is involved in the murder of my brother. How else can anyone dare to kill a senior VHP leader?”
He added that his family had never been threatened before this incident.