The two accused in the 20-year-old tailor’s murder case in Udaipur are likely to be charged under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), sources said. With this, the National Investigation Agency may take over the probe in the gruesome beheading that took place in broad daylight at a market area in the Rajasthan city, they added. Taking swift action, the state police arrested the accused from Rajsamand district’s Bhim.
According to officials, the Centre is treating the killing as a “terror attack”. The incident has triggered communal tension even as police clamped prohibitory orders in the city for the entire month and suspended internet services in Rajasthan.
Two men slit the throat of the young tailor, identified as Kanhaiya Lal, and then posted a video of the brutal act on social media claiming that they were avenging an insult to Islam. They also made threats to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life.
Around 10 days ago, the victim in question had uploaded a social media post supporting suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma. Recently, the saffron party acted against Sharma for her incendiary remarks against Prophet Mohammad that invited backlash from Muslim countries.
The incident soon became a bone of contention between political parties as BJP slammed the ruling Congress in the state. Amid appeals of calm, chief minister Ashok Gehlot has condemned the incident as local residents staged protests demanding Rs 50-lakh compensation and government for the victim’s family.
Here is all you need to know about the brutal killing of tailor Kanhaiya Lal:
- The Rajasthan government has formed a special investigation team, comprising SOG ADG Ashok Kumar Rathore, anti-terror squad inspector-general Prafulla Kumar, one superintendent of police and an additional SP.
- Assistant sub-inspector Bhanwarlal of Dhanmandi police station has been suspended over the incident. According to sources, he had arranged Kanhaiya Lal’s agreement with the accused after.
- The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 31 lakh for the kin of the deceased and a contractual job to two family members.
- The incident is now being treated as an act of “Islamic terror” with many sources pointing to the “ISIS links” of one of the accused, who identifies himself as Riaz Attari in the video. It is he beheaded the young tailor. Sources said Attari was in contact with, on three occasions in 2021, with one Mujeeb Abbasi, who was picked up in connection with a recently busted ISIS case.
- The incident has triggered communal tension in the city. A video of the accused claiming that they are avenging an insult to Islam surfaced on social media. Curfew has been imposed in the city with prohibitory orders clamped for a whole month. Internet services have also been suspended in the state. Close to 600 more police personnel, including five companies of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary, were sent to Udaipur, officials said. Senior police officers were also rushed to the city.
- According to sources, the accused are likely to be booked under the stringent UAPA, while the case may be handed over to the NIA. The accused have been taken into custody by police.
- The accused posted three videos online admitting to the crime. In a video clip, one of them declared that they had beheaded the man and went on to threaten Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying their knife will get him as well.
- The tailor Kanhaiya was recently arrested by the local police over some remarks he made on social media. A BJP leader said the victim feared for his life and had sought police protection, but the authorities did not act on his appeal.
- The tailor was running a shop in Dhanmandi area. Police said the two accused arrived on bikes on the pretext of getting some clothes stitched. While Kanhaiya was taking measurements of one accused, the other attacked him with a cleaver, police added. His throat was slit and the act filmed on a mobile phone and later uploaded.
- When the incident took place, shopkeepers in local markets downed shutters and stopped police from taking away the body, saying they will allow the removal of the corpse only after the murderers are arrested and compensation – Rs 50 lakh and a government job – given to the victim’s family.
- On Twitter, chief minister Ashok Gehlot appealed for calm and asked people not to share the videos. “The guilty will not be spared. The entire police team is working on it with full alertness. I can imagine the anger which is there among people due to the murder. We are taking action accordingly,” he said, adding that the trial will be fast-tracked under the state’s case officer scheme.
- BJP state chief Satish Poonia targeted the Congress government in Rajasthan, saying the murder was the result of its appeasement policy. He said those seen in the video had threatened the victim on June 17. Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria also condemned the incident. Prominent Muslim organisation Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind condemned the heinous killing, saying such an act cannot be justified in any way and is against the religion of Islam. In a statement, Maulana Hakeemuddin Qasmi, general secretary of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, said, “In our country, there is a system of law, no one has the right to take the law into his own hands.” He also appealed to all citizens of the country to exercise restraint and maintain peace in the country.
- BJP leaders lambasted the state government claiming that Rajasthan was on the way to become a “Talibani” region under its rule. BJP leader and MP Rajyavardhan Rathore said, “Rajasthan is on the way to become a Talibani state under Congress rule. The appeasement of Muslims by Congress has increased the audacity of the jihadis to such an extent that they are openly killing Hindus and threatening the prime minister.” Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he is deeply shocked by the incident and called for immediate punishment to those spreading terror through such brutality. “I am deeply shocked by the heinous killing in Udaipur. Brutality in the name of religion cannot be tolerated. Those spreading terror through such brutality should be punished immediately,” the Congress leader said in a tweet in Hindi.
(With PTI inputs)