In a crime that may send chills down your spine, a family of four, including a minor baby girl, were set ablaze after cutting their throats in the Jodhpur district of Rajasthan. The incident occurred in Osain village, almost 50 kilometres from the city.
Apart from the horrifying details of the case, much is being questioned about the state’s law and order. Over the past few years, cases like these have been reported in large numbers.
Notably, this accident took place in the home district of the current Chief Minister of the state, Ashok Gehlot. The opposition parties are questioning the CM over the state of “Law and order” in the state.
The prime suspect named in the First Information Report, Pappuram (19), has ties with the family. He has been arrested by the police and accepted the crime. The reason behind such brutal murder turns out to be a property dispute.
As per the FIR (number–196/2023) accessed by Organiser, the complainant, 28-year-old Harji Ram, named Papu Ram as accused in his complaint to the police. The FIR was registered on July 19 at the Osian police station in the Jodhpur district.
Harji Ram told the police that, he works as a farmer in Chamu village and is a native of Ramnagar village. He belongs to the Jaat jaati.
On July 19, around 6 in the morning, a neighbour, Gorakhram, called him to inform him that his house was burning. He rushed from Chamu village to his house, and by then as many as 40-50 people were surrounding his home.
After setting aside the people he saw, his kuccha house was burning, Inside the house were lying his father Poonaram (55), his mother Bhanwri (50), and his sister-in-law Dhapu, and beside her was the charred body of her 6-month-old daughter.
He added that on the intervening nights of July 18 and 19, someone killed them using sharp weapons and later set the house on fire with their bodies lying inside.
He named one of his relatives, Pappuram, as the accused.
Following this complaint the accused was booked under IPC sections 458 (trespassing house), 459 (grievous hurt causing death), 302 (murder), 201 (disappearance of evidence) and 436(mischief by fire).
The accused accepted the charges
As per the police, the killer appears to have murdered the four by slitting their throats, then pulled the bodies to the courtyard and set them on fire. The murders could be a fallout of personal enmity, police said, adding that they are probing every angle in their investigation.
Notably, the police said that the victims were all sleeping outside their house when some miscreants attacked them with sharp weapons.
Dhapu’s husband, Harjiram, who works at a stone quarry during the night, was not at home at the time of the incident. Poonaram’s other son lives with his family in another house in the village, according to the police.
The superintendent of police, Jodhpur Rural, Dharemndra Singh Yadav said, during his interrogation, Pappuram admitted to killing the four members of his uncle’s family over an old property dispute between his father and uncle. The property in question was owned by two other uncles—one of whom had died while the other was unmarried —of the accused, police said.
“The accused told us that he believed his two uncles (Poonaram and Meharam, who was unmarried) would get entire ancestral property,” Yadav said, citing it as the prime motive behind the crime.
Besides, the officer added that Pappuram’s brother had died under suspicious circumstances eight months back in Surat, and he suspected Poonaram of being involved in his death. Notably, the police teams are digging this angle and sought details from the Surat police to find the exact reasons behind the death of the brother of the accused to conduct a detailed investigation, the SP said.
The victim’s family-owned about 10 acres of land in the village.
The villagers came out of their houses after watching the huge cloud of smoke coming out of the victim’s house. Out of the four, the minor girl’s body was charred completely, the rest of the bodies were half-burnt.
The political debate over ‘Law and order’
The murder has shaken the whole state, and there have been debates and questions on the state of law and order in the region. Many top officers and forensic teams are camping in the village, and the police arrested the accused.
Those present on the spot include collector Himanshu Gupta, and Jodhpur Rural Police Chief Dharmendra Singh is monitoring the situation in the area.
The opposition Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has condemned and questioned the Ashok Gehlot government over the Jodhpur incident. The state BJP unit raised questions over the law and order situation in the state.
In a Twitter post, the party wrote, “If this is the state of law and order in the Chief Minister’s home district, what will be the condition elsewhere?”
जरा सोचिए जब सीएम साहब के गृह जिले की कानून-व्यवस्था का ये हाल है तो पूरे प्रदेश का क्या होगा?
— BJP Rajasthan (@BJP4Rajasthan) July 19, 2023
Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, a Member of Parliament from Bikaner, alleged that as many as 17 rapes and seven murders have been reported in Rajasthan daily since the Congress government came to power.
Meghwal said the blame for Rajasthan’s law and order situation lies squarely on Gehlot. “He keeps saying that legislators saved my government. So, MLAs have now become all-powerful, what they want happens,” he said.
“If this is the CM’s district one can image the situation in the rest of the state,” Rajasthan BJP president CP Joshi said. “There is no law and order. Criminals are roaming fearless, crimes against women are rising… Rajasthan which was once a peaceful state has become a hub of crime.”
The murder has been reported at a time when the state is set to enter elections. The opposition is targeting the Gehlot government whereas Congress with other parties is trying to present a collaborative front against the ruling NDA. Recently, the party announced the name of the new front, up from the 2024 elections at an event in Bangalore and controversies surrounded the front for their name, INDIA.