Lucknow: The murder of right-wing leader Kamlesh Tiwari in Lucknow took a new turn on Friday evening after the deceased's wife blamed two 'maulanas' from Bijnor for his death.
The 'maulanas' — Mohammad Mufti Naeem and Anwarul Haq — had announced a bounty on Tiwari's head for his alleged derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad a few years ago. Tiwari's wife said the two had conspired to kill the leader of the little-known Hindu Samaj Party who was also a former leader of the Hindu Mahasabha.
Both have been booked under Sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, said a police officer.
However, the police have claimed that Friday’s murder was “purely criminal” in nature and committed by two persons who seemed to have been known to Tiwari as they had sat down for a cup of tea before stabbing him to death.
Lucknow Special Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani said, "The two persons had come to visit Tiwari and interacted with him for about half an hour on the first floor of his house in the Naka area. Apparently after having tea, the duo attacked Tiwari and left the place. He was then rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead. Various police teams have been deployed to nab the culprits and details about the two individuals are being looked into. All the points are being investigated and the culprits will be nabbed soon. As per preliminary information, it seems the two men were known to Tiwari.”
A Special Investigation Team, headed by Inspector General (Lucknow) SK Bhagat, will look into the case.
According to available CCTV footage, two men, wearing saffron-coloured kurtas, were seen going towards Tiwari’s residence. The police said Tiwari was already provided security and one of the guards stationed outside his house had allowed the two accused inside after receiving confirmation from the leader.
Deputy General of Police OP Singh said the Special Task Force (STF) has been deployed and the case will be cracked soon.
"It is a purely criminal activity and we are working on it," he said. "Initially, there was a small law and order problem, but the situation is now under control and our officers have reached the spot. I am sure within 48 hours, we will be able to nab the criminals and will ascertain the reasons behind the murder.”
Naka Hindola Station House Officer Sujeet Kumar Dubey said there were brief protests by angry local residents after the incident. The situation was normal, he added.
Meanwhile, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha in a statement termed Tiwari's murder a shameful incident. The UP chief of the Mahasabha, Piyush Kant Verma, said the killers should given capital punishment. He also urged the Centre to provide security to all leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha.
Tiwari had made headlines in 2015 when he gave derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad. Following widespread protests, the state government had slapped provisions of National Security Act (NSA) on him which was later on revoked by the Allahabad High Court.
Tiwari also had several criminal cases, including promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion, defiling places of worship and outraging religious feelings, against him.
(With inputs from PTI)