Two men arrested for the gruesome murder of a tailor in Rajasthan’s Udaipur allegedly revealed during interrogation that they also had BJP leaders on their radar and had carried out a recce of party establishments and functionaries to relay back to their ‘handlers’ in Pakistan, News18 has learnt.
Riaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad allegedly hacked tailor Kanhaiya Lal to death with a cleaver at his shop on June 28 for extending supporting to now suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, and posted videos online saying they are avenging an insult to Islam. The case is being investigated by National Investigation Agency (NIA) with support of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Rajasthan Police.
Akhtari’s links have been traced to the Pakistan-based Dawaat-e-Islami which has its branches in India as well. Some of the cadres of the Dawaat-e-Islami were involved in multiple terror incidents.
Beheadings by terror groups, especially ISIS and Al-Qaeda, are common. The gruesome practice began in 2014 when several foreigners were killed in a similar fashion by the ISIS, with these videos being uploaded on social media.
Sources told News18 that during interrogation it emerged that Akhtari was trying to get close to BJP leaders and workers, especially those affiliated to RSS’ Muslim Rashtriya Manch and BJP Minority Morcha, including Irshad Chainwala and Tahir Raza Khan.
The accused duo also carried out a recce of BJP establishments and revealed during interrogation that they were in touch with handlers in Pakistan who asked them to maintain a relationship with the local BJP leaders, sources said.
“As a part of the game plan, they started joining BJP programs and tried to develop knowledge about the leadership. They wanted to visit Pakistan again but somehow it never materialised,” a source said.
They allegedly revealed their handlers to be from the Dawat-e-Islami, but investigators believe Pakistan agencies could have helped with the logistics.
Sources earlier told News18 that Mohammad had joined Pakistan-based extremist religious group Dawat-e-Islami through Riyasat Hussain and Abdul Razak of Udaipur and had visited Karachi in Pakistan by the end of 2013, along with 30 others from India.
He was accompanied by two others from Udaipur — Wasim Akthari and Akthar Raza — and returned on February 1, 2014 after 45 days. Mohammad had also visited Saudi Arabia twice in 2013 and 2019 and Nepal in 2017-18, sources said.
He was also in constant touch with Salman Bhai and Abbu Ibrahim in Karachi, both of whom are associated with Dawat-e-Islami.
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