An outspoken atheist who posted anti-religion opinion and rationalist views on Facebook was hacked to death in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore on Thursday night. H Farooq (31), an iron scrap dealer, regularly criticised religion on social media and his posts against Islam had infuriated many recently.
A resident of Coimbatore's South Ukkadam, he was a member of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (DVK), a breakaway group of the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK).
A realtor and Islamic activist, Ansath (30), surrendered before the judicial magistrate on Friday evening in connection with the murder but his role in the murder is yet to be ascertained.
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Farooq was murdered after he had left his Bilal Estate house in South Ukkadam at around 11 pm after receiving a phone call.
- He was on his scooter and was nearing Ukkadam Bypass Road when four people on motorcycles intercepted him. He tried to flee but couldn't escape.
- Hearing the commotion, residents of the area rushed out of their homes after which the assailants fled.
- Locals found Farooq's body lying on the road. His body bore multiple stabs and cuts inflicted by the assailants.
- Coimbatore Deputy Commissioner of Police S Sravanan reached the spot with police and began investigations.
- According to DCP Saravanan, Farooq was the admin of a WhatsApp group of people with rationalistic views who regularly debunk religion and religious claims.
- That vocal opposition to religion might be a possible motive for murder, DCP was d as saying.
- Atheist Farooq had posted rationalistic messages on his Facebook page which attracted criticism by members of the Muslim community, who called him an apostate.
- Police collected grabs from CCTV cameras installed at various commercial outlets on the stretch to identify Farooq's killers.
- The last call on his mobile was traced to a SIM that was obtained on fake Vellore address.
- A large number of DVK cadre gathered at the hospital and demanded a high-level inquiry.
- Ansath's surrender has been linked to the pressure put on the police by DVK.
- A police official told a newspaper that the religious offence could be just one motive. "We are looking into multiple angles and it is yet to be known if he was executed by communal groups, business rivalry or for personal reasons. One of his controversial religious posts shared in FB attracted criticisms."