Monu Manesar, the accused in the lynching of Rajasthan's Nasir and Junaid, is a Bajrang Dal leader and a prominent face of cow vigilantism in Haryana.
Monu, whose real name is Mohit Yadav, is among the five named in the FIR in the deaths of Nasir and Junaid, natives of Ghatmika village in Rajasthan's Bharatpur. The charred remains of the two were found in Haryana's Bhiwani on Thursday.
Nasir and Junaid are the latest Muslim men from Rajasthan to have been allegedly killed in cow vigilantism. Earlier, Pehlu Khan, Rakbar Khan, and Ummar Mohammad were allegedly lynched during 2017-18.
Monu is a leader of the Bajrang Dal, a Hindu right-wing organisation that's often in the news for opposing films or comedians over allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments or inter-faith marriages that it often calls 'love jihad'. The Bajrang Dal also makes headlines annually for harassing people of the opposite gender seen together in public on Valentine's Day.
In the past five years, Monu has became a prominent face of cow vigilantism in Haryana. His rise has been helped by his presence on social media.
Monu Manesar and Rajasthan lynchings
The families of Nasir and Junaid of Ghatmika village of Rajasthan's Bharatpur lodged a complaint with the police on Wednesday over their disappearance.
The charred remains of Nasir and Junaid were found in Haryana's Bhiwani on Thursday. The families allege they were abducted and burnt to death.
Thirty-one-year-old Mohammad Jabir, a relative of both Junaid and Nasir, held Monu Manesar, one of the five accused named in the FIR, as being responsible for the deaths of Junaid and Nasir.
He said, “Why are the police not arresting the accused? If Monu Manesar, a member of Bajrang Dal, is named in the FIR, why are the police not arresting him?”
Junaid's relative Ismail said the family learnt from the police in Ferozpur Jhirka in Haryana’s Nuh district about the abduction. Later the charred remains were found in Bhiwani’s Loharu area.
“We want justice. My cousin Junaid and his friend were abducted and burnt alive. The guilty should be given stringent punishment,” said Ismail, a 62-year-old resident of Ghatmika.
Besides Monu, the others accused in the case are named Anil, Shrikant, Rinku Saini, and Lokesh Singla. All are said to belong to Bajrang Dal.
Who is Bajrang Dal's Monu Manesar?
Monu Manesar's real name is Mohit Yadav. He is 30-year-old and is a native of Manesar in Haryana.
Monu joined the Bajrang Dal as a co-coordinator in his home district Manesar in 2011 and was a member of the district cow protection task force formed by authorities after Haryana's cow protection law came into force in December 2015.
Monu is now the district president of Bajrang Dal and frequently courts controversy over the actions of his own cow protection group and shares videos of vigilantes chasing, confronting, and nabbing alleged cow smugglers. The videos, mostly live streams, have thousands of views and comments.
Monu has 83,000 followers on Facebook and more than 2 lakh subscribers on YouTube. He received a silver play button from YouTube in October last year as the number of subscribers crossed one lakh.
Monu and his fellow Bajrang Dal operatives apparently also work with Haryana Police. In a post on Twitter dated August 15, 2022, Monu shares photo in which he claims to have caught alleged cow smugglers jointly with Haryana Police. In another post from July, Monu writes that he "saved" cows with the help of Palwal Police.
14,08,22 को @nuhpolice के थाना फिरोजपुर झिरका के साथ मिलकर बजरंग दल मानेसर ने पकड़ी स्कार्पियो गाड़ी 4 गाय बचाई 5 मेवाती गौतस्कर पकड़े साथ में हथियार भी पकड़ा @anilvijminister @mlkhattar @DivyaWrestler @flyingbeast320 @vinod_bansal @NeerajDoneria pic.twitter.com/Diu9SB3qus— Monu Manesar (@MonuManesar) August 15, 2022
Under the Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act that was implemented in 2015, cow slaughter in Haryana attracted rigorous imprisonment ranging from three years to 10 years. After this law, a number of cow protection groups, including those already present, became visibly active.
There have been allegations that cow protection groups have been targeting a particular community and indulging in high-handedness. Monu has, however, claimed that he has been receiving death threats from suspected smugglers. The Haryana police last month filed two FIRs on his complaints.
Monu has also been involved in activities against what the Hindu Right calls 'love jihad'. In a video on his Twitter, he claims to have caught a man involved in the act. The man is seen being beaten in public in the video.
देश का बल बजरंगदल 🚩— Monu Manesar (@MonuManesar) November 22, 2022
फरीदाबाद oyo में जिहाद फैलाता हुआ पकड़ा गया जिहादी एक बच्ची के 35 टुकड़े होने से बचे।
अत्याधिक Retweet 🔁 करें ताकि ऐसी घटनाओं को रोका जा सके 🙏🏻🙏🏻 @team_hyv @beingarun28 pic.twitter.com/s4ygTMx8EE
Previous allegations on Monu Manesar
Just days prior to that, the family of 22-year-old Varis had accused cow vigilantes, including Monu, of thrashing him to death after branding him a cow smuggler in Nuh district of Haryana, though police had said he died in a road accident.
The police said a Santro car with Varis and two others, Shokeen and Nafis, had rammed into a tempo near Khori Kalan village on Tauru-Bhiwadi road on Saturday.
Monu had claimed that they had rescued a cow from the car and taken the injured to hospital.
“I went live on Facebook and also asked the name of one of the injured, but we did not hurt any of them,” he had said.
The Gurugram police in Haryana also conducted raids to nab him in a case of murder attempt which was registered against him on February 7 at Pataudi police station, said officials.
According to police, a brawl broke out between two groups in Pataudi's Baba Shah Mohalla when Monu Manesar was there along with his team.
A complaint was filed by Mubin Khan, a resident of the same locality, who said that his son Mohin was shot at during firing in two groups and received a bullet injury.
Following the complaint of Mubin Khan, an FIR was registered under Section 307 (attempt to murder) against Monu and others at the Pataudi police station.
“In the case of murder attempt, Monu Manesar is wanted and we are also conducting raids to nab him”, said Manbir Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Manesar.
In the Rajasthan lynchings case, Rajasthan police has launched a manhunt for him.
In a video message, Monu denied his involvement in the deaths of Nasir and Junair case and claimed he was at a hotel at the time of the incident. He and his supporters have also shared CCTV footage from the hotel on social media.
गोपालगढ़ थाना क्षेत्र में जो घटना हुई मैं और मेरे साथी गुरुग्राम के एक निजी होटल में रुके 14 से 15 दोपहर तक हमारा इस घटना से कोई सम्भन्ध नहीं है @police_haryana @PoliceRajasthan pic.twitter.com/KL9sHYl2gp— Monu Manesar (@MonuManesar) February 17, 2023
(With PTI inputs)