The All India Muslim Personal Law Board said on Tuesday that the murder of a man in Udaipur for having shared a social media post in support of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma was against Islam. Sharma had made disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad during a debate on Times Now television channel last month.
The man, a tailor named Kanhaiya Lal, was beheaded on Tuesday and his killing was filmed by his assailants.
A purported video of the killing surfaced on social media. Another clip of two men purportedly claiming responsibility for the killing was also shared online. In the video, the men identified themselves as Mohammed Riyaz Attari and Ghouse Mohammed, brandished swords and claimed that they would also kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both men have been arrested.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board said that taking the law into one’s own hands was “highly condemnable, regrettable and un-Islamic”. It also called on the government to enact a law against blasphemy with respect to religious personalities of all faiths.
The AIMPLB was among several Muslim organisations and political leaders that criticised the killing and called for strict punishment of those guilty.
The chief of the Ajmer shrine in Rajasthan, Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, said that Indian Muslims would not allow a “mindset of Talibanisation” to surface in the country, according to PTI. “No religion promotes violence against humanity,” he said. “Especially, in the religion of Islam, all the teachings act as sources of peace.”
Islamic organisation Jamaat-e-Islami Hind called the murder barbaric and uncivilised, adding that Islam does not justify violence. “The culprits should be dealt with according to the law of the land,” the organisation said. “In any case, peace should not be disturbed. Nobody should try to take the advantage of this ugly crime.”
The shahi imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari said that the murder was “not only an act of cowardice but an act against Islam,” reported ANI.
In a statement, Bukhari said that Islam was a religion of peace and the life of the Prophet was filled with examples of compassion, humanitarianism, tolerance and generosity.
“Had the persons who committed this barbaric act studied the life and character of the Holy Prophet and had they been well versed with the spirit of the Quran and shariah [religious law of Muslims], they would not have committed the crime,” he added.
The Bengal Imams Association said that “no true Muslim” will support the killing and demanded punishment for the accused persons, reported PTI.
In a statement, Md Yahia, the chairperson of the body of clerics, said a murderer should only be known by his crime. Yahia said neither the killer’s name nor his religious identity should belittle the severity of the act.
“Islam doesn’t permit taking away the life of a fellow human being,” he added. “It is a sin.”
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi criticised the murder and said that his party’s consistent stand was to oppose such violence. “No one can take law in their own hands,” he said. “We demand that the state govt takes strictest possible action. Rule of law must be upheld.”
PM should address the nation, says Rajasthan CM
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to address the nation, saying that there is a “tense atmosphere” across the country.
The chief minister said that he was extremely saddened by the murder in Udaipur and added that no amount of condemnation was enough for it. “I have repeatedly urged Modi ji and Amit Shah ji to address the whole country,” he said. “...Wherever a community is in a minority in an area, that community is worried. Such is the level of tension that has developed.”
Gehlot said that Modi should state that his government “will not tolerate violence at any cost” and should urge citizens to live together with mutual love and brotherhood.
Gulab Chand Kataria, the leader of Opposition in Rajasthan, said that the murder could not have possibly been committed by just one man. “It is horrendous and failure of administration,” he added.
Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje claimed that the government’s appeasement policy had paved the way for communal frenzy and violence.
Political leaders from outside Rajasthan also expressed shock at the killing and called for stringent punishment to the culprits.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that barbarity in the name of religion could not be tolerated.
“We all have to come together to defeat hate,” he said. “I appeal to everyone to maintain peace and brotherhood.”
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the accused men should get strict punishment as bigotry and violence have no place in our society. He also urged social media firms to take down the video of the killing to avoid inflaming passions.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said that Kanhaiya Lal, like other victims of mob lynching Mohammed Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan, had fallen prey to hate.
“Who is creating an atmosphere of extremism in the country?” he asked. “Who is creating disputes in society? Who is gaining political benefit by spreading hatred. Everyone knows who he is. Everyone is seeing that he is silent.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that violence and extremism were unacceptable, regardless of the reasons for them. She also urged everyone to maintain peace.
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal termed the killing a “dastardly act” and said that such incidents have no place in civilised society. “We criticise the incident in strong terms,” he said. “The criminals who indulged in this act should be severely punished.”
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said “such heinous acts would only serve to upset our harmonious living” and urged everyone to maintain peace and calm.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that those who commit such crimes should be given stringent punishment in a time-bound manner so that “enemies of peace” do not take advantage of such incidents.
“Today, every person in society must come forward and prevent the country’s brotherhood from being sacrificed at the altar of hate,” he added.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati urged citizens to maintain restraint and peace. “The Rajasthan government should ensure ensure strict punishment for the guilty, and also take all steps necessary to ensure that the situation remains normal,” she said.