Girl student's murder: Amid protests, CM Siddharamaiah counters 'Love Jihad' claims again

The incident sparked a political slugfest after BJP alleged 'Love Jihad' angle

siddaramaiah-cm Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah

Amid the uproar over the girl student's murder in Karnataka's Hubbali, Chief Minister Siddarmaiah on Saturday countered the 'Love Jihad' arguments and accused the BJP of "using the issue for politics."

The incident wherein Neha Hiremath, daughter of Congress Councillor of Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation Niranjan Hiremath, was stabbed to death on the campus of her college sparked a political slugfest in the state after BJP alleged 'Love Jihad' angle. 

The accused Fayaz Khondunaik, who fled the scene, was arrested by police subsequently.

Home Minister G Parameshwara had claimed that both the accused and victim were in a relationship, which went sour. He added that the accused stabbed the girl after she tried to distance herself from him. "The love jihad angle is not seen as of now. He might have feared her marrying someone else, the details are not known yet," Parameshwara said.

However, the girl's father Niranjan Hiremath stuck to the love jihad angle, putting the state Congress leadership in a fix. "If this is not Love Jihad, then what is?" Niranjan Hiremath asked, hitting out at the state leadership. 

"The gang had conspired for a long time. They had planned either to trap her or to execute her. They have been threatening her in that backdrop. However, the girl had not heeded their threats," Mr Hiremath told the media. "The whole state and country witnessed what happened to my daughter. If they say that it is personal, what is personal in this? Are they my relatives?" he added.

To this, the Chief Minister said: "This is not a case of love jihad. I condemn the incident. We have arrested the culprit, the investigation is going on seriously and we will punish the culprit. We have taken care of law and order seriously to maintain peace and harmony. The BJP is using this issue for politics, it is condemnable that a political party (BJP) is using the murder of a girl for political purposes."

Meanwhile, Hubbali witnessed a protest over the incident, with Lingayat seer Dingaleshwara Swami and other seers joining in the protest against the girl's murder.

BJP's student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and other organisations aligned with Hindutva outfits staged protests on Friday demanding justice and calling for severe punishment for the accused.

Meanwhile, police said the accused was sent to judicial custody. "An FIR has been registered in this case. The accused was secured within an hour and has been sent to judicial custody. It is a serious case and we are investigating," the Hubbali-Dharwad police commissioner said. 

Police said Fayaz, who stabbed her multiple times, claimed during interrogation the two had been in a relationship but she had been avoiding him of late. "It needs to be corroborated and verified, but he was arrested immediately." 


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