Experts find flaws in theory as anonymous SIT member tells media Nishank’s death was suicide, ‘guesses’ motive

Nishank Rathore, a third-year student, was found dead on the train tracks near the town of Obaidullaganj in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh on July 24, 2022. Prior to his death, his father had received a message that read: “Gustakh-e-Nabi ki ek saza, sar tan sey judaa”.

Uma Shankar Rathore, the father of victim Nishank Rathore, received the message at 5:44 p.m. Sunday evening. The message read: “Gustakh-e-Nabi ki ek saza, sar tan sey judaa”. After reading the post, Uma Shankar attempted to track down her son, Nishant Rathore, 20, a third-year student at Oriental College, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

However, Nishank had disappeared from his hostel room, and later his corpse was found on the railway tracks at Obaidullaganj in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh.

Speaking to India Today TV, IG Suri said, “We have been tracking his movements through CCTV cameras from the moment he left his room in Bhopal. At 5:09 p.m., he was spotted at a gas pump and he was not accompanied by anyone. The autopsy revealed that he died because he appeared in front of a moving train.

A Hindustan Times report now says the SIT formed to investigate his death has concluded that Nishank’s death was a suicide by the youth. Quoting an anonymous SIT official, Hindustan Times reports that the official claimed that Nishank committed suicide because he was in debt. A day before his murder, according to the report, he had taken Rs 50,000 from his sister to pay for her school fees, but did not make this payment. Furthermore, the report claims that he had taken out strange loans from online instant loan apps and was worried that he would not be able to repay the loans.

The reasoning provided by SIT, however, raises doubts about the authenticity of this theory.

He could have written the message mentioning “slur on the prophet” to win the support of Hindu nationalists by presenting himself as a martyr or to obtain government assistance for his family, the official added, according to the report. Hindustan Times. “The ‘Nabi ki shan me gustakh maf nahi’ line had been doing the rounds after a tailor was killed in Udaipur for supporting Nupur Sharma,” he added. “No one knows what was weighing on his mind. We are all just guessing,” the official said.

Several questions arise from the alleged statement by the anonymous SIT official. First, the official himself says they are only “guessing” why Nishank killed himself. From the report itself, it is unclear on what evidence the SIT based its conclusion, while it itself admits it is only guessing why he may have taken his own life.

Nishank was only 20 and it makes no sense that he sent these messages from his own phone to his father before killing himself. Essentially, SIT would say that Nishank harbored so much animosity toward the Muslim community that even before he killed himself, he thought he was implicating Muslims in his death. Moreover, the SIT, according to HT, speculated that it might have done this to curry favor with the “nationalists”. One wonders what use this adulation would serve after Nishank’s death.

OpIndia reached out to experts to try to figure out if this SIT theory could hold water.

“It will not be appropriate for me to comment on an ongoing investigation, especially when I have not seen the records, but the case appears complex,” a serving police officer said on condition of anonymity. “I myself have come across cases of teenage suicides but I have never seen a teenager leaving such irrelevant messages (WhatsApp messages and Instagram status) before committing suicide. a person is supposed to leave a suicide note or a message for loved ones before committing suicide, not encrypted messages that look like a plot to slander a religious group.

“It is very difficult for me to imagine a teenager whose mind is so twisted that he kills himself to fix the Muslim community,” the officer explained why he struggled to take media reports at the foot of the letter. “Such a person will have some past history. Some cybercrimes related to hate crimes, or something like that. I don’t think this kid has such a history.

“Teenagers don’t kill themselves like that,” he repeated.

Speaking to OpIndia, a psychologist also cast doubts on the theory reported by Hindustan Times. “Listen, teenagers are complex. They often have deep fears and anger that seem incomprehensible to adults. So I can’t say 100% that this theory doesn’t make sense. It’s possible. However, I find it hard to believe that a young man could commit suicide and before he does, create such a complex ruse. If he was afraid of the repayment of the loan, he would ideally apologize to his family. If he was angry, he was expressing that anger — something,” she said.

“Teenagers want to win adulation from bands (since SIT said they might have curried favor with Nationalists) in their lifetime. Most of them revel in that kind of attention. It wouldn’t have no sense for him to desire this attention knowing he would be dead,” she added.

Another doctor, however, speculated that the suicide theory might have some merit. “You don’t see Islamists pushing someone in front of a train. Their purpose in committing this murder, if it was one, was to make an example of him. Why would they innocently push him in front of a train? asked the doctor.

“Furthermore, to form a conclusive opinion on the case, one would have to see the autopsy report. Were there any injuries on the boy in addition to what the train had done to him? Was there a struggle? Wounds that looked like they were made ante-mortem? he asked.

The Hindustan Times report itself seemed to report the hasty opinion of an SIT member, rather than the conclusion the team itself had reached. The report itself did not explain the messages sent from Nishank’s phone and the Instagram post, except for speculation as to why he may have done it himself.

It would also appear that investigative agencies operate under the same assumptions that they may use when investigating Muslims. Often, the Islamists do not hesitate to die to implicate the Hindus. The concept of “Jannat” in the afterlife is a very real concept for radicalized Muslims. Therefore, for them, there is a reward attached to involving the “Kafirs” even while dying. One such example is that of Kasab. Kasab had worn a Kalawa on his wrist, so if he died in the terrorist attack he was carrying out, people would believe he was a Hindu and not an Islamist.

For the Hindus, even if one believes oneself sectarian, their meeting with the Moslem community is much more political than theological. Theologically, there is no concept of the afterlife that would compel Hindus to extract a pound of flesh from the Muslim community even by committing suicide. Therefore, all that we know about the patterns of the two communities makes it difficult to believe the theory supported by the SIT.

Given the many murders that have been committed by Islamists after issuing the threat “sar tan se juda”, the SIT should offer a little more than mere speculation to explain Nishank Rathore’s death.

Sharon D. Cole