Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back

Fit Of Rage Or Religious Fanaticism? Here’s All We Know About Motive Behind Gurugram Shooting So Far

Author: Swati Goel Sharma
Publication: Swarajyamag.com
Date: October 17, 2018
URL:      https://swarajyamag.com/ideas/fit-of-rage-or-religious-fanaticism-heres-all-we-know-about-motive-behind-gurugram-shooting-so-far


- When the wife and son of an additional sessions judge in Gurugram were shot at in daylight, it uncovered the Christian evangelism and bigotry that has found a foothold in Haryana.

After firing five rounds at Ritu (45) and her son Dhruv (18) from close range on Saturday afternoon, constable Mahipal Singh Yadav shouted, "Ye shaitan ki maa aur ye shaitan” (she is satan's mother and he is satan).

Mahipal (32) then kicked Ritu several times. He tried to pull Dhruv's limp body into his employer's white Honda City car in which the three of them had come to Gurugram's Arcadia Market, but failed.

He left both the victims bleeding on the street and fled. The cold-blooded shootings, Mahipal screaming, his attempt to drag the bodies and eventual escape have all been captured on video. Mahipal appears defiant and remorseless. Videos also show hundreds of onlookers gathered around the spot.

It has emerged that Mahipal made at least two phone calls after his escape. According to the police, one of them was to Additional Sessions Judge Krishant Kant Sharma informing that he had killed his wife and son. Mahipal had been serving Sharma as his personal security officer (PSO) since 2016.

Another call was to his cousin Manoj Singh (23) in Kosli town of Rewari district, some 90 kilometres from Gurugram. Mahipal told him to take his mother, Tirpati Devi, out from his residence at Gurugram’s police lines where she currently lived. Manoj's father and Mahipal Yadav’s uncle Daan Singh told The Pioneer newspaper that Manoj returned to Kosli with Tirpati Devi at around 7 pm the same day. However, a police team detained them and eventually took them to Gurugram for questioning. The police have kept the duo at an undisclosed location, according to Singh.

Mahipal was arrested shortly after his escape, from the Gurgaon-Faridabad road. The same night, at around 11.30 pm, Ritu succumbed to her injuries, while her son continues to be on life support.

The case has justifiably attracted much media attention and sparked outrage and shock. The motive of the horrific crime has left the police and the public puzzled.

Harassment At Work?

One of the angles the police are probing is whether Mahipal acted out of frustration arising out of possible mistreatment by his employer.

The issue has been raised by Daan Singh, who has told the media that Mahipal was upset and furious with the judge for denying him leave to attend to his daughter who was ill. According to Singh, Mahipal repeatedly requested leave but was not granted.

"My nephew Mahipal's eleven-year-old daughter was seriously ill and needed urgent treatment. On the day of the incident, Mahipal had received repeated calls from his wife asking him to reach home early to take his daughter to a doctor. He has repeatedly asked for an early leave," Singh, a resident of Kosli, has told the media. The Tribune quotes Singh as saying that Mahipal was under pressure, especially from the judge's wife, and that the family harassed and misbehaved with him.

This version is supported by one of Mahipal's friends, Kailash Singh, who told News18 that, “He [Mahipal] was a security guard not their domestic help. He was obviously not happy with the work. This is outright exploitation of the forces."

On the other hand, a colleague of Sharma and a senior judicial officer has told The Times of India that Mahipal was treated with dignity, and that unlike other PSOs who are expected to protect someone round-the-clock, Mahipal was kept on duty only during court hours.

The investigating police officers, however, say they have not concluded harassment to be the motive as the accused has not given them a convincing statement. Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Sulochana Gajraj, who is heading the special investigating team (SIT) set up to probe the case, told the media that Mahipal had never complained of harassment or ill-treatment to the department in his current job.

Religious Fanaticism?

Initial reports, a day after the crime, quoted investigating officers as saying that while in custody, Mahipal was constantly talking about his recent conversion to Christianity and quoting from the Bible. He is also reported to have said that it was every Christian’s duty to eliminate demons.

This, when viewed with what Mahipal said to the crowd after the shooting – "Ye shaitan ki maa aur ye shaitan" – raises suspicion that Mahipal thought of Ritu and Dhruv as 'Satan' or 'devil' who deserved to be killed. The use of the word 'shaitan' is significant as Christian missions often call Hinduism as a “Satanic” faith and, during conversion activities, tell the gullible that non-Christians are 'devils’ or ‘shaitan’.

By several accounts, Mahipal was involved in aggressive evangelical activities in his native Mahendragarh district in Haryana. The investigating team has told the media that Mahipal had got over two dozen people converted and that he could have been pressuring Ritu and Dhruv to do the same. Mahipal reportedly often had spats with the duo over this. Reports also say Mahipal would constantly talk about Christianity and would be rebuked by the judge’s wife for this.

A cryptic post on Facebook by Mahipal on the night before the crime points into this direction and suggests that the attempted killings could have been pre-planned and not a result of an immediate, on-the-spot trigger. The post features a page from a diary on which is scribbled – "Pastor Robin do not push this 2150 Rs please”. This line is followed by two words beginning with ‘R’ and ‘D’ and are crossed. The mention of Rs 2,150 is significant as it is the exact amount that is reportedly given out by evangelists converting people to Christianity in Mahendragarh district.

The investigating team has told the media that most recently, Mahipal's role in a major conversion activity surfaced in August 2018 when he helped a group caught by police for illegally converting people go scot-free. The incident happened in a hotel in Narnaul, a few kilometres from Mahipal's ancestral village Bhungarka (some 120 km from Gurugram). A group of about 8-10 people including Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans and cops were indulging in illegal conversion. Investigating officers say that when a police team raided and caught the accused, it was Mahipal who intervened and got them released.

The hotel's owner told Swarajya, "the group visited our food court like any other visitors with about 40 other people and told us that they were their guests. They also requested for space in our conference room to hold a meeting. We didn't find anything suspicious. But when they were about to leave, a police team arrived and caught them. I later found that the police recovered material that suggested they were luring people to convert." He said that he didn’t recognise any of them.

This detail is important to the police as one of the evangelists was a woman who Mahipal considers as his 'guru ma’ and who holds great influence over him. The police are searching for the woman to get possible insights into the motive of the crime. The police are also looking for a man named Indraraj, who Mahipal calls his "guru". Mahipal has been reportedly talking about his ‘guru’ and ‘guru ma’ while in custody.

Swarajya travelled to Mahipal's paternal village in Bhungarka. Villagers said Mahipal's father Hoshiar Yadav was an alcoholic and it is for this reason that Mahipal's mother left the village early on. She raised her son at her brother's house in Kosli village, some 70 km away from Bhungarka. But after his father's death in 2008, Mahipal began visiting the village to meet his relatives on the paternal side and even built a new house.

Ramanand Yadav, Mahipal's uncle (chacha) who runs a grocery store in Bhungarka, told Swarajya that Mahipal was a quiet and nice man and it is unbelievable what he had done.

Referring to the reports about Mahipal killing his employers over religious conversion, Ramanand simply blamed it all on "Ishu mashi ka chakkar". He told Swarajya, "reports say he changed his religion eight months ago but the truth is that even when he was here, he had stopped doing dhoop-batti (Hindu rituals). He would get annoyed whenever I questioned him why he stopped it and told me to mind my own business. But no villager likes these sort of things."

However, Ramanand said he was not in touch with his nephew for about three years since he left the village for Gurugram and cannot comment on his recent state of mind. Other villagers don’t remember Mahipal as a religious fanatic. Dharampal Singh, his neighbour, told Swarajya that Mahipal visited the village a few months ago for a brief period and greeted him with the customary ‘Ram Ram’.

It was during his brief stay in Bhungarka that Mahipal is believed to have met his 'guru' Indraraj and was drawn towards Christianity. It was in this village that Indraraj was also arrested for illegal conversion in 2015.

Former sarpanch Rajendra Prasad told Swarajya that though Mahipal had nothing to do with the conversion event at that time, it had later emerged that he had come in close contact with Indraraj, converted and got himself involved in similar activities. Narrating the 2015 case, Prasad, who acted as one of the complainants, said, "for days, there were announcements in the village that a team of doctors will come and cure villagers of all diseases so everyone should visit the camp in Sewaram Dharamshala. But on the day of the camp, villagers learnt that the team had actually come to promote Christianity. They were telling the villagers that their religion is wrong and that if they convert, they would be healed."

Narendra Singh, another complainant, said, "they said a lot of bad things against Hindu dharma. We submitted the recording of the event and the objectionable pamphlets to the police who registered a case against several people including the key accused Indraraj. But he never appeared for court hearings. His lawyer said he had died."

As the police are probing this angle, Mahipal himself has been confusing the investigating team. While he initially is learnt to have said that it is every Christian’s duty to eliminate demons, he is now reportedly saying that "shaitan" just means "a bad and dirty person".

In his latest statement, Mahipal has reportedly said that he was neither mentally disturbed, nor influenced by any religion or religious scripture and that the killing was in a fit or rage. "I got stuck at a parking lot as another vehicle was blocking the way. They (judge’s wife and son) started making frantic calls. I knew I would be rebuked and decided not to respond. When I returned, they were furious. The boy snatched the car keys from me, telling me to ‘get lost’. I just couldn’t take it from a mere 18-year-old," investigating official have quoted him as saying.

Mahipal’s wife Meenu, with whom he reportedly had strained relations ever since they married eight years ago, could provide important inputs in the case. She too has been taken for questioning. Swarajya approached her family in Rewari’s Rojka village but the family refused to talk. Meenu has not spoken to the media since the incident. Some reports say that Meenu has told the investigators that whenever Mahipal was rebuked by Ritu and Dhruv for constantly talking about Christianity, he would abuse them later and refer to them as ‘shaitan’. Meenu reportedly left Mahipal sometime ago and went to her house in Rojka as she was fed up with her husband’s attempt to convert Ritu and Dhruv. Reports say the couple constantly fought among themselves and did so loudly. Meenu reportedly was also upset as many of Mahipal’s relatives had distanced themselves from the couple after his conversion to another religion.

Amid all this, his employer Sharma has not spoken to the media. The police are reportedly considering a lie-detector test for the accused.

- Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.
«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements