MUMBAI: A Muslim man with new convert girl marriage drama that had played out in Mumbai several months ago involving a young couple ended tragically on Sunday when the groom was shot dead by unidentified assailants.
Mohammad Hanif Shah, 28, who had incurred the wrath of several people two years ago for marrying Hema Bhatnagar, a Hindu who took on the name Heena after marriage and converted to Islam, was shot dead near his residence at Mansore in Madhya Pradesh.
The local police told this newspaper that the incident happened at around seven in the morning and quoted eyewitnesses as having seen Shah sipping tea with his killers moments before the murder. Tragically, Hanif was planning the naming ceremony of their firstborn in May and was all excited about it, friends of Hanif told the police.
The incident had similarities with the sensational Rizwanur Rehman-Priyanka Todi case of Kolkata, where a Muslim boy had married a Hindu girl against her parents' wishes. Unfortunately, the case has now ended exactly like Kolkata's infamous love story.
Inspector Vivek Gupta of the Yashodharman Nagar police station said that a call had been made to Hanif at about 6.30 am on Sunday and the caller had asked Hanif to come to the main square of Yasho-dharman Nagar, which was near Hanif's house.
Mr Gupta said: "I think these people were known to Hanif as he had tea with them, according to witnesses, and there was a heated argument among them. Later on, one of them put a revolver in Hanif's mouth and shot him. Hanif died on the way to the hospital." When this newspaper spoke to Heena, she said: "My husband has been murdered. Hanif had so many plans. He wanted our son to be named Ishan. Now it is all gone."
Heena had alleged that her family members may be directly involved in the killing.
Mansore superintendent of police R.K. Chaudhari told this newspaper that the possibility of Heena's parents being behind involved in the murder of Hanif would be investigated. "Our investigations are being carried out to see whether it was some kind of personal rivalry. And since Heena has blamed her parents, we will be working on that angle as well."
Friends of the couple are distraught. One of them, Shahid Mansoori, said: "The couple was really made for each other. With Hanif gone, Heena has been left all alone with their unborn baby."
Hanif's father had passed away last year during the time when the couple was criss-crossing the nation looking for safety.
Mohammad Hanif had fallen in love with Heena, then Hema, and eventually they decided to marry. Hema's family members have political connections and were vehemently against the marriage. Opposition from many quarters made Hanif and Heena move from city to city looking for protection.
Last year, in the middle of August, Hanif and Heena had approached the media in Mumbai seeking help. In all interviews, Heena had claimed that her father was politically very powerful and alleged that he would have them killed if they returned to their native Madhya Pradesh. Heena had said: "My father is against my marriage with Hanif and he has threatened me that they would kill Hanif if we enter the boundary of Mansore."
Hanif, who had his own orchestra, said: "I have legally married Hema, alias Heena, but her father wants us to get separated as I belong to another religion." After some time, however, the couple had returned to their hometown thinking that nobody would want to harm them.