Police in India’s western Rajasthan state have frozen the bank account of a Hindu zealot who received public donations of around $5000 days after he is alleged to have brutally murdered a Muslim labourer, burnt his body and circulated videos of the incident on social media.
Police officials said Shambhulal Regar, a resident of Rajasamand, 208 miles southeast of the state capital Jaipur, had received this money from some 516 ‘sympathisers’ in an account being operated by his wife Sita Regar.
Two local businessmen were arrested on Wednesday for running the WhatsApp campaign seeking to raise money for Mr Regar, who was arrested on 6 December, accused of viciously killing migrant labourer Mohammad Afrazul.
Police claim Mr Regar hacked Mr Afrazul to death a day earlier with an axe and set his body alight, all of which he got his 14-year old nephew to film, before posting it on social media websites.
In an accompanying video a ranting Mr Regar justified the killing on the grounds that he suspected Mr Afrazul, of being in a relationship with a Hindu woman.
“This is what will happen to you if you carry out ‘love jihad,’” Mr Regar had declared in the video that went viral online last week.Radical Hindu groups have propagated this term after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party assumed power in May 2014.
It refers to Muslim men seducing Hindu women in a deliberate ‘jihad’-like campaign to convert them to Islam, raising existing sectarian tensions between these two communities.
Police sources said Mr Regar’s alleged crime had been ‘well received’ by the region’s majority Hindu community who began depositing small amounts of money into his account to support him.
“We will investigate those who deposited money into Regar’s account to determine if they had any links with the accused,” said senior police inspector general Anand Shrivastava.
He said around 300,000 rupees (£3,500) had been deposited into Mr Regar’s account before it was frozen.
Mob violence is increasingly common in India against Muslims for eating beef.
Hindu gangs are known to lynch Muslims for consuming or processing beef, or trading in cows, which are sacred to Hindus.
Videos are often then circulated on social media.
Around 16 per cent of India’s population of 1.25 billion is Muslim and over 80 per cent is Hindu.