20-year-old newlywed bride Tanishka Sharma was shot five times by Mohammad Shahil and his friends while she was on her way to her in-law’s place after the wedding ceremony. She is in critical condition at the Rohtak PGIMS hospital.
The shocking incident took place on Wednesday, December 1, in Bhali village of Haryana’s Rohtak district. The wedding ceremony had just been completed. After the vidaai (farwell ceremony for bride) held at 10 PM, the bride, accompanied by other relatives, was on her way to her marital home.
At around 11:30 PM their car was stopped by Sahil and 2 of his friends. It has been learnt that Sahil had planted his juvenile friends inside the wedding venue to get all the updates about the wedding. Reportedly, he was also present around the pavilion and had eaten there. After the vidaai, the number of the bride and groom’s vehicle was also passed to Sahil by these two friends.
Md. Sahil and his two accomplices then started following the bride’s car in an Innova right from her parental hometown in Sampla. While Tanishka’s brother-in-law Sunil was driving the car, her brother Ujjwal was also sitting beside her. But the accused overtook the bride’s vehicle near a local Shiv Mandir in Bhali.
As soon as he got down, Sahil shot the first three bullets at Tanishka after which his gun stopped working. The next two were shot by one of his accomplices. The groom described that the accused removed their car key and asked them to line up outside the car, while Tanishka lay bleeding; they then snatched Sunil’s chain and fled the spot. The police were called immediately and Tanishka was rushed to hospital. She is admitted in the Trauma Centre at PGIMS Rohtak and has not shown any improvement in the past 3 days. Tanishka has suffered gunshots on her face, neck, and stomach; doctors have given a 50-50 chance of her survival.
The police have lodged a case of attempt to murder and loot against the accused and have arrested the two accomplices used by Md. Sahil to execute this sinister plan. Both of them are minors and were produced before the Juvenile Justice Board on Saturday, December 4. They have been sent to the Juvenile correction home.
The main accused, Sahil is still on the loose and a police team consisting of 6 officials is raiding all possible areas to nab him. He is a resident of Sampla and Tanishka’s parental home is also in that region. The police is suspecting a stalking angle in this case.
Reportedly, Sahil is a habitual offender and has 5 criminal cases against him for chain snatching, bike theft, and loot. He has also been declared absconding in one of these criminal cases. An environment of unrest and tension has sprung in Sampla as well as Bhali, the paternal and matrimonial villages of the victim respectively, due to the non-arrest of Md. Sahil.
This gory incident brings back memories of the Nikita Tomar case from last year. 21-year-old Nikita was a student of Agarwal College in Faridabad who was being harassed by one Tauseef. The spurned stalker, Tauseef, had tried to pull her into his car as she was walking outside her college, and when she resisted he shot her dead at point black range. The spine-chilling crime was caught on CCTV camera.
In March, a fast-track court in Faridabad sentenced Tauseef and another accused Rehan to life imprisonment, while a third accused Azharuddin was acquited. Nikita’s father Mool Chand Tomar said he would appeal in High Court for death penalty to his daughter’s murderer. It is anyone’s guess how long it will take court proceedings to complete in our tortuous legal system, and whether timely justice will truly be served.
Apart from this, on November 29 in West Bengal’s Alipurduar district another youth named Fazaddin Hossain attacked a batchmate with a sharp blade and left her badly injured after she turned down his romantic advances.
Cases of such radicalized youth being violent and attacking girls with criminal intent are increasing day by day and command the administration’s immediate attention. Hindu society must also introspect on what we can do to create deterrence and protect our children from such relentless targeted attacks.
1.45 PM, 7 Dec
An earlier version of the article headline suggested that a juvenile was involved in Tanishka’s shooting. However, the 2 juvenile accomplices had only conducted recce at the wedding venue for the prime accused Sahil, and both of them have been apprehended. The two men who aided Sahil in the shooting are both believed to be adults. As per latest reports, Sahil has been arrested, while the other two are still absconding. He was arrested from Paldi village in Sonepat district of Haryana on Sunday.
An intriguing aspect of this case is the mystery around the name and religious identity of the prime accused Sahil. Renowned senior journalist Swati Goel Sharma, who routinely covers cases of stalking and grooming jihad, tweeted the accused’s name as Mohammed Sahil. She spoke to Tanishka’s mother who said that Sahil lived in the neighboring village. Sahil’s father name is also Hindu-sounding, Dayawan, and it appears retaining Hindu names is common in parts of Haryana, with some Muslims there even using the Hindu surname ‘Kumar’.
Hindi media outlets like Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar have all reported the accused’s name as Sahil, mentioning no last name. But the Dainik Bhaskar report does state that police investigation has found that Sahil belongs to the vishesh samuday (aka ‘special’ or ‘specific community’, Hindi media’s term for referring to the Muslim community).
Now, Times of India has updated its story with this ‘apology’: “An earlier version of this story had named the accused as Sahil Kumar. The police FIR mentions his name as Sahil. We regret the error.“
HinduPost spoke to DSP Mahesh Kumar who led the team that arrested Sahil. We asked him the last name of the accused. He said that Sahil only goes by one name. We then asked him whether Sahil is a Muslim – there was a pause, before the officer claimed that he could not divulge religious or community details of any accused as per police protocols, and due to court and govt orders. When we tried to probe further on how police normally doesn’t maintain such secrecy over identity of an accused, he cut the call.