A widespread claim on social media suggests that two sadhus were killed in Madhubani’s Dharohar Temple for opposing ‘love jihad’. Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) member Vijay Shankar Tiwari’s tweet with the claim gained 4,500 retweets and over 10,000 likes. PM Modi supporter @Vinay_Dwivedii also made the claim.

Fan account of the controversial Yati Narsinghanand @FansYati shared the claim too. It gained about 4,000 likes.

Twitter users @TheAbhishek_IND and @OmPraka43229608 also posted the claim. @TheAbhishek_IND‘s tweet gained over 1,000 retweets.

Twitter user @TheDeepak2020 wrote in Hindi, “Two sadhus were killed in Bihar’s Madhubani by slitting their throats !! It is reported that they stopped Muslim boys and Hindu girls from entering the temple !! #LoveJihad”. This was retweeted over 400 times. Several users wrote about the incident with the hashtag #LoveJihad.

Twitter account @HinduJagrutiOrg and verified Facebook page Hindu Adhiveshan wrote, “In order to stop such incidents, Hindu Rashtra is needed.” The latter’s post gained over 1,000 likes.

Right-wing propaganda outlet OpIndia also reported on the incident, stating that the sadhus used to oppose ‘love jihad’.

False communal spin

Several media outlets reported that two sadhus were decapitated in Madhubani on April 21. Navbharat Times said that the victims were 60-year-old Heera Das and 38-year-old Anand Jha. Their bodies have been sent to Sadar Hospital Madhubani for postmortem.

Hindustan Times reported that the chief priest of the temple, Narayan Mukhia, alleged both were hacked to death by Dipak Choudhary. “Police are looking at the robbery angle since donation boxes were found outside the temple premises and the offerings, mainly cash, was missing. Police said that before escaping, the miscreants also ransacked the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in search of more valuables and cash,” the report further said.

According to The Times of India, Choudhary hails from Basopatti village. He dumped the beheaded bodies of the priests under a haystack. “Police later recovered the bloodstained spade from Choudhary’s house,” wrote TOI, adding that some locals said that he is mentally unstable.

Dainik Jagran reported that Choudhary was arrested by the police after speaking with locals. “They informed the ASP that Choudhary was present at the scene of the crime. His mental condition was unstable. He used to loiter the premises of the temple intoxicated with bhang and marijuana. It is possible that he killed the sadhus after getting into a fight with them. The police raided Dipak Choudhary’s house after the incident and recovered bloodstained spade and axe,” stated the report.

Station house officer (SHO) Anjesh Kumar at the Khirhar police station told Alt News, “Social media claim that this incident was related to love jihad is false. Choudhary, 30, was arrested under Section 302 (Punishment for murder) and Section 201/34 (Causing disappearance of evidence of the offence, or giving false information to screen offender) of the Indian Penal Code on April 21.”

“As per our investigation, the accused was addicted to narcotics and wanted money from the temple’s donation box,” he added.

The brutal murder of two sadhus in Madhubani was communalised on social media. Several attempted to rope in a ‘love jihad’ spin but the police has refuted the claim after making an arrest.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.