‘She Died Fighting Forced Conversion’. Nikita Tomar’s Father Criticises Documentary That Says Her Murder Had Nothing To Do With Religion

‘She Died Fighting Forced Conversion’. Nikita Tomar’s Father Criticises Documentary That Says Her Murder Had Nothing To Do With ReligionA banner outside Nikita Tomar’s house a week after her murder
Snapshot
  • Moolchand Tomar says he is pained by how the documentary has “twisted his words”

In October, 21-year-old Nikita Tomar was shot dead outside her college in Haryana’s Faridabad district by her former schoolmate Mohammed Tausif.

Her family told the media at that time that Tausif had kidnapped Nikita a year earlier and kept her confined for a day, to try to convince her against her wishes to have nikah with him. He shot her dead when she turned down her proposal again.

A video of the cold-bloodied killing was widely shared on the social media.

The Hindi media called the murder a case of ‘love jihad’. The term, that has no legal definition, is widely understood as a phenomenon where Muslim men prey on Hindu women with an ulterior motive of converting them and starting a Muslim lineage.

The so-called secular political parties and the media insist this phenomenon does not exist and is merely a figment of imagination of Hindutva groups. On the other hand, several Hindu women from various parts of the country have filed police cases against Muslim men for trapping them in love by posing as Hindus and later pressuring them to covert to Islam.

A couple of days after Nikita’s death, her family had put up a banner outside their house saying Tausif killed Nikita for refusing to convert to Islam.

‘Nikita Tomar (1999-2020). Shot dead by Tousif in broad daylite for refusing to convert and marry him’, the banner read (see the picture below).

A banner outside Nikita’s house a week after her murder put up by her family. Picture clicked by Swarajya
A banner outside Nikita’s house a week after her murder put up by her family. Picture clicked by Swarajya

A recently released documentary by news portal The Quint however says that Nikita’s murder had nothing to do with religion.

Nikita’s father Moolchand Tomar has reacted sharply to the documentary, calling out the ‘lie’ and repeating his earlier stand that his daughter’s murder is religiously motivated.

The 35-minute documentary called “Mission hate: Finding ‘Jihad’ in interfaith love’ has crossed a lakh views since its release three weeks ago. At 20 minutes mark, the reporter says that “Nikita was brutally killed by her stalker but since the accused was a Muslim and the girl a Hindu, the case was twisted to be one of ‘love jihad’”.

The video shows Nikita’s father as saying that though he had read in the newspaper that Tausif approached Nikita using a Hindu name for himself, he had not heard such a thing himself. “Madam, I don’t know what love jihad is. Only the experts can tell you better,” he is seen as saying in the video.

Moolchand Tomar now says the portal has “twisted” his words.

His response (as translated by this correspondent from Hindi) says he is pained after watching the video and he wonders how anybody can be so selfish as to selectively cut and use a statement by the victim’s father for vested interests.

“I do not agree with what the documentary says about our case. I have still not moved on from the tragedy and it’s sad that my statement to the media given only two days after her death has been twisted and presented,” the response reads, adding that he is ready to talk to any journalist to present his version of the case in detail.

“Nikita Tomar is a warrior who has brought glory to women power by sacrificing her life fighting religious conversion,” the response further reads.

See the response written by him in Hindi below:

Moolchand Tomar has shared his criticism of the portrayal of his daughter’s case in the documentary with all the media publications he is in connected with.

It’s pertinent to mention here that the documentary, soon after showing Nikita Tomar’s case, plays down crimes on Hindus in Haryana’s notorious Mewat (now named Nuh) district. The reporter says while she was told that Mewat is a hub for ‘love jihad’ cases, she did not find a single case of forced conversion when she reached there. Instead, she found budding Hindutva vigilantes in the area.

The ground reality of Nuh, which is the only Muslim-majority district in Haryana, is however quite different.

In June, a retired district and sessions judge from Haryana belonging to the Dalit Hindu community, prepared a report on atrocities on Dalit Hindus by majority Muslims in Nuh and presented it to the government. “Aurangzeb-like brutal atrocities are being committed against Dalits in Mewat,” the report, based on testimonies of locals and documents, concluded.

In the 2011 census, 80 percent of its population was found to be Muslim.

Here are some of the cases mentioned in the report:

  • One Nizam, son of Isar, along with his accomplices, abducted a Dalit girl at gunpoint. An FIR was registered but the girl was forced to make a statement that she had eloped and married at her own will and converted to Islam.
  • At the time of marriage of a Valmiki woman from village Siroli, 15 Muslim men beat up the bridegroom. They tried to abduct the bride but the village youths managed to stop them.
  • One Junaid from Ghasera village kidnapped the mother of two children, and forcibly married her. He is now pressuring both her minor girls to convert to Islam. The father even makes the girls watch obscene messages on his phone.
  • Ramjilal, a resident of village Bichhor, was brutally beaten up by one Iqbal, who is father of the woman sarpanch of that village. Iqbal, along with his accomplices, cut open Ramjilal’s stomach, filled it with cotton and burnt him alive. No action was taken even after the registration of named FIR. The police declared it to be a death due to lightning bolt.

The report said that at least 205 Valmiki caste families had converted to Islam by force since 1996.

Readers can also read a ground report from Nuh written by this correspondent in 2019 where a Dalit Hindu man had accused a neighbouring Muslim man of forcing him to convert to Islam and constantly harassing him and his family for not accepting the proposal.

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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