'Martyr Status For Nikita Tomar': Mahapanchayats In Western Uttar Pradesh And Haryana Demand Death For Killers Of Ballabhgarh College Student
The leaders who attended the events want Touseef and others, accused of the murder, to face trial in a fast-track court.
Touseef had reportedly been coercing Nikita to marry him and wanted to convert her to Islam, while she was keen on a career in the Indian Army.
Protesters seeking justice for the Ballabgarh college student, Nikita Tomar, who was murdered in broad daylight by a man named Touseef, blocked the Delhi-Agra highway on Sunday (1 November).
The protests turned violent as the police resorted to lathicharge. The incident took place "around the time a 'Mahapanchayat' was being held in nearby Dussehra grounds in Ballabhgarh."
Reportedly, western Uttar Pradesh, too, witnessed anger and the presence of Hindutva groups at a Mahapanchayat, attended by various social groups in solidarity with the Tomars.
They seek justice for Nikita, who was shot dead in Ballabhgarh by a Touseef, who had been coercing her to marry him and convert to Islam. Touseef, the main accused, and his associates were arrested in the case.
Reportedly, the Ballabgarh ‘Mahapanchayat’ held on 1 November decided to give Nikita Tomar “martyr” status.
A member of the 'Mahapanchayat' told the local press thus:
Despite grave pressure put on her by the main accused to marry him and convert to Islam, she outrightly refused and even sacrificed herself. The ‘Sarv Samaj’ (mahapanchayat) gave her martyr status...Further, the Mahapanchayat decided to organise a 'Shradhanjali Sabha' on 8 November in her memory. We have demanded that the case be tried by a fast track court. The woman’s family should be given compensation by the government and provided police security.
Leaders of the three organisations attended the Mahapanchayat, which also saw the presence of villagers from the region, amid heavy police presence.
They were demanding capital punishment for the killers.
In the Hapur mahapanchayat, hundreds of people from 60 villages — mostly Rajputs — attended the mahapanchayat. They demanded compensation for the victim’s family and a fast track court for the accused's trial.
A senior police official of Hapur claimed that around 200 to 300 people participated in the mahapanchayat, which lasted for three hours amid heavy police deployment. The mahapanchayat organisers later handed over a memorandum to the acting sub-divisional magistrate Pankaj Saxena.
The leaders seemed angry over the incident and linked it to alleged forced conversion.
The family of Nikita Tomar hails from Uttar Pradesh and lives in Haryana. The leaders have said that they would launch a movement if justice was denied to the victim's family.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said that the state government and the Centre are probing the case.
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