A man’s body was found hanging off the parapet of the Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur this morning. Chetan Kumar Saini was 40 years old. Initially dubbed a suicide, the picture is clearer now. It’s a murder. Not suicide.
Initial reports have been quick to pin this on the ongoing anti-Padmavati film protests in the state of Rajasthan and elsewhere. Because the word Padmavati figured in the charcoal scribbles on the stones around the site.
Speculation suggested that it may be the handiwork of those protesting against the film Padmavati.
A close reading however shows otherwise. The messages are addressed not to the state of makers of Padmavati, but those protesting against Padmavati.
On one stone, it said: Hum sirf putlay nahin latkaate Padmavati.
This was rightly understood to be in protest against Padmavati the film, as it was addressed to Padmavati, the heroine of the Rajput folklore.
This is the graffiti that has been focused on so far
Media has largely focused on this scribble.
But there were more than 10 messages scribbled on stones on the fort’s parapet. And the full one read this:
Padmavati ka virodh karne walo, hum kile se sirf putlay nahin latkaate. (To those opposing Padmavati, we hang not but effigies from forts.)
This message makes the picture clear
It’s a taunt against those who have been burning effigies in protest of Padmavati the film, especially the supporters of Shri Rajput Karni Sena.
At two other places, it just says Chetan Tantrik. In one place, Tantrik. And in one: Chetan Tantrik Mara Gaya.
Chetan Tantrik has been killed. Clearly, those who murdered and hung his body did not want this to be seen as a suicide.
Another message from the site
Chetan Tantrik Mara Gaya
But, wait, that is not enough. There is a clear attempt to foment communal division on other messages. This is made, deliberately so, to sound like written by Muslims.
Har kafir ka yah haal hoga. Each infidel will meet this fate.
Hum putlay nahin latkaate / Allah Ke Bande, Hum Mein Hai Dum. (We don’t hang effigies. We are Allah’s men, we are powerful.)
Jo kaafir ko maarega, Alla ko pyaara hoga. It can mean: Whoever kills an infidel will be dear to Allah. Can mean, because ‘allah ko pyara hona‘ can have another meaning: die.
Har kafir ka yahi haal hoga
There are at least three slogans that have the kafir among the messages scribbled on the stones. And two that mention Allah.
So what could be the motive of the crime? The police will have to crack the murder by:
a) delinking this from the Padmavati controversy and seeing it as somebody who tried to mislead the investigators by scribbling Padmavati.
b) investigate into whether there was a conspiracy to put one community against another by mentioning Allah and Kafir and so on.
The easiest route for police may be declaring this a suicide and close the case. However, there are too many fingers pointing towards this being a murder.
From Chetan Tantrik has been killed to Hum putlay nahin latkaate hain, there is no message that points towards a possible suicide.