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Feb 24, 2023

Car Used to Abduct Junaid, Nasir Listed as Haryana Govt Vehicle, Possible Links to More Vigilante Violence

Online car ownership records show that the car in question belongs to the Haryana Panchayat and Development department. Though police told The Wire that it has been 'auctioned off' recently, serious questions about possible linkages of this car with non-state actors calling themselves gau-rakshaks publicly on video have emerged. 
Police with the Scorpio car that the accused allegedly used to take Junaid and Nasir from Rajasthan to Bhiwani, where they were further attacked.

New Delhi: The strings of the Junaid and Nasir murder case have been linked to a white Scorpio car that has been used in the past for abduction and violent activities, The Wire‘s investigation has found. The car is also listed in online ownership websites as belonging to the Haryana government.

According to the police, a white Scorpio car (license number HR 70 D 4177) is said to have been used for abducting Nasir and Junaid. The duo were later burnt to death in their own car.

Rajasthan Police reached the Jind district of Haryana in search of Vikas, an accused in the murder case, on February 22. The police searched the Goseva Dham Viklang Gaushala on Kaithal Road, where crippled and disabled cattle are housed, after being unable to locate him at his residence.

Here, the police recovered the Scorpio car that the accused allegedly used to take Junaid and Nasir from Rajasthan to Bhiwani, where they were further attacked. As per Rajasthan Police, blood traces were also found on the car’s seat.

Monu Manesar, a Bajrang Dal leader and a member of the Haryana government’s cow protection task force is one of the accused in the case. He has over three lakh followers across social media and received a ‘silver play button’ from YouTube – where he posts violent content – upon touching the 1 lakh subscribers mark. 

We found that Monu and his team had uploaded at least four videos mixed with Hindutva pop music depicting abduction, assault, gun-violence and torture against Muslim men by cow-vigilantes. Two of these videos feature this same car, which is clearly visible in some of the shots.

  • A video covered a raid on a house in Mewat from which one ‘Sahib’ was abducted at gunpoint. The Scorpio car HR 70 D 4177 is clearly visible in this video. 
  • In a different video, an old man is seen being manhandled and paraded naked by the vigilantes. This was also shared by the infamous Jamia shooter who is a close aide of Monu Manesar.
  • In another video, then posted by Monu on his Instagram with the caption, “These scrap pickers throw stones at our army and Hindus,” vigilantes can be seen assaulting a man on a bike with large bamboo sticks. The man is assaulted until he falls on the ground while writhing in great pain. 
  • The fourth video is of an old man confined in a white SUV. He has blood stains and injuries on his face. At one point, his beard is pulled and he falls unconscious. Later, the vigilantes can be seen dragging him through the ground partially naked.

Despite the videos going viral last year, the car continued to be used for violent vigilantism.

Multiple victims have alleged that Monu’s team is behind such attacks, including that on Junaid and Nasir. Monu has denied these charges.

Photos of the Scorpio car HR 70 D 4177 have been posted on social media accounts of multiple cow vigilantes who also have multiple photos with Monu Manesar. Their social media accounts are replete with footage of weapons and injured victims.

In one video, the Scorpio car can be seen in a fleet of cars accompanied by a police car.

In another video, the car looks damaged, with big dents and its rear glass broken.

As we tried to trace the ownership of this car, emerging as a visible link between cow vigilante-related violence last year in the region and in the present Junaid-Nasir murder case, we found that online records show it is a Haryana government vehicle registered in the name of the Development & Panchayat Office.

When we reached out to Ram Naresh, Gopalgarh Station House Officer, to know the details of the car’s ownership, he said, “The car belonged to the Haryana government’s Panchayat and Development department but it was auctioned off.”

When asked if he knew who the car’s new owner was, SHO Naresh said he did not have any information. We have e-mailed questions to the Haryana Panchayat and development department to check if they still own the car or if they are aware about how the car was being used to perpetrate violent activities.

This story will be updated as and when Haryana state government officials respond.

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