Police announced on Wednesday that a 16-year-old boy, Vaibhav Singhal, from Greater Noida, who went missing about nine days ago, was murdered by his two ‘friends’ Maz Pathan (19) and Ayan Khan (15).
Vaibhav Singhal disappeared on January 30, prompting his father to file a missing person complaint at the Dankaur police station. Despite efforts to locate him, there was no progress in the case. Singhal’s family and local traders staged a protest on Wednesday (January 31), alleging police inaction in finding Vaibhav.
After receiving a tip-off, the police identified the suspects as 19-year-old Maz Pathan and a 15-year-old boy, Ayan Khan. They were apprehended near Sakka village after a brief chase, during which Maz Pathan fired at the police and was shot in the leg in retaliation.
Singhal’s iPhone was recovered from the accused, along with a country-made gun. The police also discovered that the accused posted misleading messages on Singhal’s social media accounts to divert attention. However, their deception was uncovered during interrogation. Maz Pathan is receiving treatment in a hospital, while the minor accused will be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board.
Although mainstream media reports state that the dispute arose due to some pictures of Pathan and his girlfriend, a ground report by NeoPolitico refutes this claim. Vaibhav’s father, Aruj Singhal, informed the portal that his son was an active member of Bajrang Dal. On January 22, following the Pran Pratishtha at Ayodhya Shri Ram Mandir, Vaibhav put up a status regarding the Shri Ram Yatra. The accused replied to the post with a poster of Babri and Sar Tan Se Juda (STSJ) threats. “The poster contains an Urdu caption which says Allah is with those who are brave. Have patience when our time will come; heads will be severed from bodies,” notes NeoPolitico.
Aruj Singhal further stated that the duo had befriended Vaibhav two days before the latter’s abduction. The family has also accused the police of ignoring their fears of Vaibhav being abducted by Muslims. The police reportedly ignored the same, saying such acts aren’t possible in Yogi’s rule. A video of Vaibhav’s mother, Shalini, and sisters, Tanya, Harsha, and Riya, who are angry with the police administration, has come to the fore. They alleged that the police turned a deaf ear to them despite their repeated pleas.
The police swung into action and arrested the accused duo only after the traders protested. During interrogation, the duo confessed to killing Vaibhav and disposing of his body in the Kherli canal. The victim’s slippers and clothes were recovered. Last reported, divers were searching for Vaibhav’s body.