Maharashtra: Afghan Sufi preacher murdered in Nashik over ‘property row’
A 28-year-old Afghan Sufi preacher who was staying in India as a refugee for the past four years was shot dead in a jungle area in Nashik district of Maharashtra Tuesday evening. The police have identified the role of five people in the murder and prima facie the motive appears to be related to property or monetary issues.
The deceased has been identified as Ahmed Zarif Chishti popularly known as Zarif Chishti. Sachin Patil, Superintendent, Nashik Rural said, “We have detained one person and he is being questioned. Prima facie the motive is financial and property issues. But we are probing all angles.”
The incident took place around 7.30 pm in a jungle area in Yeola in Nashik.
Police said the accused who are known to Chishti took him in a vehicle to the jungle area saying they want him to perform a ‘puja’ for a new plot. “But Chishti did not know that it was just a ploy to murder him. The accused took him to a secluded spot, and as Chishti was getting into the car after performing the puja, one of them shot him with a gun killing him on the spot. The men then fled the spot,” they said.
Chishti came to India four years ago on refugee status given by the Indian government. He has been staying in Yeola, Maharashtra for over one year. Earlier he had stayed in Karnataka and Delhi. The police said Chishti had escaped from Afghanistan fearing execution from the Taliban.
The police said most of his income comes from his YouTube channel where he posts his preaching videos. The channel made in 2017 has 2.27 lakh followers and received over 6 crore views. The police said he also generated income by donations from the public.
The police said that Chishti had properties worth Rs 3 crore in India. As he is a refugee from Afghanistan, he cannot buy properties as per the Indian laws, and so all the properties were purchased in the name of Indian nationals known to him.
The police said he had also bought 15 acres of land in Yeola and a car. They suspect that the killers may be the ones whom Chishti had named as owners of his property.
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