Rajat Sharma

Udaipur killing clearly points towards a Pakistan connection

AKBThe brutal beheading of a tailor by two ‘jihadi’ killers, masquerading as customers, in a shop in Udaipur has now assumed cross-border implications. The director general of Rajasthan Police, M L Lather, on Wednesday said, one of the killers Ghaus Mohammed had stayed in Pakistan for 45 days when he visited Karachi in 2013, along with 30 others from India. He had also visited Saudi Arabia in 2013 and 2019, and also Nepal in 2017-2018.

National Investigation Agency and Rajasthan Police are now trying to find out details of whom he met during these visits. During interrogation, Ghaus Mohammed told police that Daawat-e-Islam is connected to Tehrik-e-Labbaiq, Pakistan’s fundamentalist Islamic group. He said, he was in constant touch with Salman Bhai and Abu Ibrahim, both of whom are Daawat-e-Islam handlers in Karachi.

The DGP said, Ghous Mohammed had joined an Islamic extremist group Daawat-e-Islam through Riyasat Husain and Abdul Razak, both residents of Udaipur. He said, Ghous Mohammed had taken terror training in Karachi during his 45 days’ stay.

Three suspects have been taken into custody by Rajasthan Police, and under instructions from the Union Home Ministry, the NIA has taken over the probe. Both the killers, Ghaus Mohammed and Mohammed Riyaz Akhtari were arrested within hours of the crime by police from Rajsamand, nearly 61 km away from Udaipur. Police said, the two killers were proceeding to Ajmer Sharif to offer prayers.

The DGP admitted that Kanhaiyalal’s family had complained to local police that he was getting death threats from ‘jihadis’ for supporting Nupur Sharma, but police did not take the complaint seriously. An assistant sub-inspector has been suspended in this connection.

The gruesome murder took place on Tuesday when the two killers walked into Kanhaiyalal’s tailoring shop and asked him to take measurements for stitching clothes. As Kanhaiyalal started taking measurements, one of the killers started stabbing him with a knife, with the other making a video of the macabre murder. There were 26 cuts on Kahnhaiyalal’s body, mostly around his neck. The two killers then posted the gruesome video on social media, and were seen smilingly holding two blood-stained cleavers.

Kanhaiyalal had supported former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who had made a blasphemous remark about Prophet Mohammed.

This gruesome beheading incident has brought shame to India. It is nothing short of murdering the very sense of humanity. In the video, the killers also threatened to commit a similar act against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is nothing short of challenging the Indian state and its legal system.

The two killers have openly challenged the process of law, they planned this murder in advance and had already decided to make a video of their grotesque act. In the video, one of the killers, Mohammed Riyaz Akhtari is seen as saying “ we have beheaded the victim because the Prophet has been insulted. ..This knife will one day reach Narendra Modi.”

Seeing the gruesome video, I thought how can people commit such a gruesome murder in the name of Islam, Prophet or Allah? How can they murder humanity? Such killers do not have the right to stay alive in a civil society.

I was also a little disappointed over Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot’s initial remarks, in which he first condemned the brutal killing and appealed to people to maintain peace, but in the same breath, he injected politics into it. Gehlot said, “the atmosphere in the country is already getting worse, and Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah should come forward and appeal to the people to maintain communal harmony.” Chief Minister Gehlot appealed to people to remain calm and requested them not to share the video of the macabre murder.

There were protests in Udaipur on Tuesday, as people gathered at the spot and chanted slogans. The state administration suspended mobile internet services across Rajasthan for 24 hours to stop rumours, and curfew was clamped in seven police station areas of Udaipur to prevent violence. Dhan Mandi, Ghanta Ghar, Ambamata, Surajpole, Bhupalpura, Hathipole and Savina localities are under curfew. Sec 144 prohibitory orders have been clamped across Rajasthan.

A fiend, who can smile and laugh after beheading an innocent, unarmed man by sneakingly stabbing him, cannot be called a brave man, nor can he be a true Muslim, nor a true follower of Prophet Mohammed. Such killers do not have any religion. They are only defaming Islam, and bringing India’s famed ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’ (secular tradition) to disrepute.

The victim, when stabbed, was shrieking and weeping, but the two killers did not show any mercy. Ghaus Mohammed was shooting the video, when Mohammed Riyaz was stabbing Kanhaiyalal. When the victim fell to the ground, the two brutal killers beheaded him. The two killers fled from the spot, and then made a video holding two blood-stained cleavers and then proudly announced to the world that they have beheaded a man.

This was a cold-blooded murder executed after proper planning, in order to strike terror and instigate communal riots. Mohammed Riyaz had decided 11 days ago, on June 17, to kill Kanhaiyalal. He soon made a video announcing his intent, but did not post it because he knew that his planning would fail, if he posted it in advance.

The video clearly shows Riyaz saying, “I am making this video on Friday June 17, and I will make it viral, the day I will behead those who insulted our Prophet. Gustakh-e-Nabi ki ek hi sazaa, Sir tan se juda (the only punishment for insulting our Prophet is behead the person).”

The role of Udaipur police is being questioned. Kanhaiyalal was constantly getting death threats on his phone. He was so much afraid that he kept his tailoring shop closed for six days. He told neighbours and shopkeepers about the threats and even went to police. He even shared the phone number of the person who was giving him death threat, but police did nothing.

Since the tailor came from a lower middle class family, he needed to reopen his tailoring shop, to fend for his family. That was when the killers decided to strike. They walked into the shop and committed the bestial murder. Local residents and shopkeepers staged protests soon after the killing, and questioned why police did not act when the victim had approached them with the phone number of those who were giving him death threats.

The Shahi Iman of Delhi Jama Masjid, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, and political leaders across the spectrum have condemned the brutal murder and have demanded exemplary punishment to the ‘jihadi’ killers. It is a good sign that Islamic scholars have condemned this brutal killing and said, it goes against the tenets of Islam.

I know, people across India are outraged over this crime, but I appeal to all, with folded hands, to keep calm and maintain peace. This is a criminal act by two deranged killers. This crime should not be seen in the light of any religion or community. We should not blame the community for the deranged act of two killers. I was sad when I saw Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot trying to bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name into this matter. Strong action must be taken against police officials who ignored Kanhaiyalal’s appeal for protection to his life.

This macabre murder clearly displays the mentality of ISIS and Talibani extremists. It is time for all top Islamic scholars and ulema to come out and convince people not to take law into their own hands and do not make it a communal issue.

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