An Indian Railway Protection Force constable who shot dead four people on a train in the state of Maharashtra has said he was driven by hatred of Muslims, Indian media have reported.
On the morning of July 31, 33-year-old police constable Chetan Kumar Singh shot dead his senior officer and three Muslim passengers aboard the Jaipur-Mumbai Superfast Express.
Mumbai’s Mid-Day daily quoted a Railway police source as saying Singh does not have any regrets for killing four innocent people.
“Singh told the GRP and the RPF (police) personnel that if the train had not stopped, then he would have killed eight to 10 more people. He has said that his final wish is to go to Pakistan and kill everyone there.
“He appears to have hatred against the Muslim community. This is the reason why he refused to undergo a medical check-up by a bearded doctor (an intern) when he was taken to Cooper Hospital (in Mumbai) following his arrest. He thought he (the doctor) was a Muslim. When other young doctors without a beard were called, he did not protest,” the report added.
However, Singh’s lawyer Surendra Landage claimed that his client was mentally unwell.
Singh, who fled from the scene when the train stopped after a passenger pulled the emergency chain, was apprehened outside by police officers who had been alerted.
He appeared before a magistrate on Monday who remanded him in custody until August 11. The police told the court that Singh was of sound mental health.
The incident has created shockwaves among the Muslim community in India, and was cited as another telling example of the extreme radicalisation of the Hindu community after the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power.
The shooting also evoked fears about the safety of Muslims on Indian trains.
Meanwhile, in another incident involving the radicalisation of the police force in India, a police inspector in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu was placed under suspension two days ago for hate speech against Christians and Muslims.
According to the police, an officer identified as “P Rajendran,” who was serving as an Inspector, Traffic Investigation Wing, posted derogatory remarks against these two communities on a WhatsApp group.
“This is India,” Rajendran said, according to Indian media. “We have demolished a mosque and built a temple. Indians will worship at temples, conduct pujas… Christians and Muslims can try to stop us. If you can’t, then go to Pakistan or Saudi or elsewhere. This is Rama Rajyam.”
The disparaging remark from a serving police officer sparked controversy in Tamil Nadu, a state which is ruled by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (translated as Dravidian Progressive Federation – DMK) which is fiercely opposed to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the centre.
The Greater Chennai Police Commissioner Sandeep Rai Rathore on Monday suspended Rajendran after his remark went viral.
“Inspector of Police, placed under suspension for sharing objectionable religious opinion on social media,” Greater Chennai Police tweeted.
The Indian police are often accused of collusion with the Hindutva extremists during communal riots.