Soon after the news of the alleged murder of 26-year-old Shraddha Walker in Delhi’s Mehrauli by her partner became viral, the religion of the accused, Aftab Ameen Poonawalla, became a bone of contention on social media. (Some media outlets used slightly different spellings for the name)
A twitter user called ‘the dude’ posted a screenshot of Poonawalla’s Facebook profile and wrote, “Although Poonawala is usually a Parsi surname and the accused claims himself to be humanist, such a heinous crime against a woman should not go unpunished. Regardless of his beliefs he should be given harshest possible punishment. At the same time, we need to call out ++” (Archive)
Although Poonawala is usually a Parsi surname and the accused claims himself to be humanist, such a heinous crime against a woman should not go unpunished.
Regardless of his beliefs he should be given harshest possible punishment.
At the same time, we need to call out ++ pic.twitter.com/qMnJIh83Yn
— the dude (@the_shrewd_dude) November 14, 2022
Another user with the name ‘RVAIDYA2000’ wrote, “Youngistan me confuzed as usual: This Aftab Poonawala is a Shia or Bhora or Parsi or ?? Many media differ+ there are many other poonawalas floating around–all one set:))))) RT”. (Archive)
Youngistan me confuzed as usual: This Aftab Poonawala is a Shia or Bhora or Parsi or ?? Many media differ+ there are many other poonawalas floating around–all one set:))))) RT
— RVAIDYA2000 🕉️ (@rvaidya2000) November 14, 2022
Replying to a tweet by user Anshul Saxena, user ‘MaynZalik’ simply wrote “Aftab Parsi Poonawala Not muslim”. (Archive)
Aftab Parsi Poonawala Not muslim https://t.co/IC41oBR76H
— MaynZalik (@XunizXan) November 14, 2022
Another Twitter user, ‘Yedz’, quote-tweeted NDTV’s report of the incident and claimed in his tweet that the accused was a Parsi and not a Muslim. (Archive)
Time that our judiciary stop being lenient and start giving death sentences for such brutal acts!
Why show humanity to an inhuman monster?!
Also the accuse is parsi not muslim but irrespective of that stop making everything about religion! https://t.co/uxAcOm3s6n
— Yedz (@YetOtherHuman) November 14, 2022
Some also claimed that the accused was a Hindu.
Some others claimed he was a ‘Sindhi’.
While looking into the matter, Alt News checked Poonawalla’s Instagram profile, and found that replying to a comment to one of his posts, he had written, “I am a Muslim, and the other tern you’re is Hindu. Lord Krishna is the God of Hindus. May I ask why the certain inquisitiveness about my religion?”
Alt News also accessed the FIR copy of the incident and found that according to the victim’s father, Poonawalla was a Muslim. The relevant part of the police complaint can be translated as “My daughter had told my wife in 2019 that she was in a live-in relationship with Aftab Amin Poonawala. Me and my wife did not agree to this because the guy was a Muslim and inter-caste/inter-religion marriage was not accepted in our social circle…”
Based on Poonawalla’s own admission on his Instagram page and the FIR copy, we can confirm that he is a Muslim by religion. Contrary claims made on social media, that he is a Parsi or a Hindu, are not true.
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