Days before he was killed by two persons for allegedly insulting Islam, Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal had told police in a written complaint that he faced a threat to his life from some people who were conducting a “recce” of his shop, officials said.
On June 11, Kanhaiya Lal’s neighbour Nazim had filed a case against him over a controversial social media post and he was arrested. After he was released on bail, he told the police in a written complaint on June 15 that he was receiving threat calls from Nazim and others and sought police protection.
However, the officials said, the police mediated between Nazim and Kanhaiya and the matter was settled, with Kanhaiya giving in writing that he does not want any further action. However, within two weeks two men pretending to be customers entered his shop on Tuesday and “beheaded” him with cleavers, with one of them recording the act and posting it on social media, drawing widespread condemnation. They were arrested soon after their confession video went viral.
In his June 15 complaint filed at the Dhan Mandi police station against Nazim and five others, the tailor had alleged that they circulated his photo in their community groups on social media with a message that he should be killed if seen anywhere or if he opens the shop.
In the complaint, Kanhaiya had said he was being pressured to not open his shop. “Nazim and five other persons are conducting recce of my shop and not allowing me to open the shop. Five-seven people are doing rounds of my shop in the morning and evening and I have come to know that they will try to kill me as soon as I open the shop,” he had said in the complaint.
“…Nazim and other 4-5 persons have circulated my name and photo in their community group and asked all that this man, if seen anywhere or (if he) come(s) to (the) shop, should be killed because he has made a controversial post,” he had written in the complaint.
He also mentioned that the controversial post was shared on Facebook inadvertently by his son who was playing a game on his mobile phone and that he was not aware of this. He also said he did not know how to operate a phone.
Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday registered a case under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the “heinous murder”, by two people who, the agency said, wanted to “strike terror among the masses across the country”.
A spokesperson for the agency said NIA teams have already reached Udaipur and requisite action for expeditious investigation of the case has been initiated. “The accused persons had also circulated a video of the criminal act in the social media claiming responsibility for the murder in order to trigger panic and strike terror among the masses across the country,” he said.
He added that the case has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the UAPA.
Responding to the development, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said further investigation into the killing will be done by NIA, to which the state ATS will render full cooperation.
The Union Home Ministry had rushed a probe team on Tuesday night after a preliminary probe suggested that the two accused, arrested by the Rajasthan Police, were influenced by the ISIS, a banned terror group.
The Rajasthan Police announced a special investigation team (SIT) soon after the arrest of the two men, identified as Riaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad, in connection with the incident. In a video clip, Akhtari declared that they had “beheaded” the man and went on to threaten Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Indirectly, the assailants also referred to Nupur Sharma, the BJP leader suspended from the party over a remark against Prophet Mohammad.