Preliminary inquiry into the Udaipur murder suggested that a terror gang could be involved, the National Investigation Agency on Thursday said, ANI reported. Media reports liking the two accused men to a terror outfit are based on speculation, the agency added.
Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Udaipur, was killed on Tuesday and his killing was filmed by his assailants. He was killed for having shared a social media post in support of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma. She had made disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad during a debate on Times Now television channel last month.
Earlier on Wednesday, Rajasthan Director General of Police ML Lather had alleged that one of the accused persons, Ghouse, had links with Karachi-based non-profit Islamic organisation Dawat-e-Islami. To a question on whether both Ghouse and co-accused Mohammed Mohammed Riyaz Attari had links with the organisation, the police chief said that such a possibility could not be ruled out.
Later in the day, the National Investigation Agency said that the accused men, Riyaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad, will be presented in a special court in Jaipur on Thursday or Friday. They will not be brough to Delhi.
“There will be many group members of the accused,” the agency said. “It’s not just two. There will be a bigger group. Six to 10-member NIA team is investigating the case under the supervision of an Inspector General and a Deputy Inspector General ranks officers.”
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Minister of State for Home Rajendra Singh Yadav also claimed that Ghouse had spent about 45 days in Karachi in 2014, The Indian Express reported.
“Then in 2018-19, he also had movements in Arab countries and visited Nepal a few times,” the minister said. For the past two-three years, he had been making calls to 8-10 phone numbers from Pakistan.”
Yadav said that the crime could not have been committed by a common person. “So the NIA [National Investigation Agency] has lodged a case and their network will be found out and the guilty will be jailed,” he said.
The NIA took over the investigation on Wednesday. The office of Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the involvement of any organisation and international links will be thoroughly investigated.
The first information report registered in the case alleged that Riyaz and Ghouse told Lal that he had “no right to live” as he had written against the Prophet Muhammad, according to The Indian Express. The FIR was registered based on a complaint by Lal’s son Yash.
Yash told the police that his father’s body had injuries from a sharp object on his neck, face and left hand. He added that Ishwar Gaur, who worked at Lal’s tailoring shop, also suffered several injuries.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said in a tweet on Wednesday that the murder case has been filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad and state police will cooperate with the central agency, he added.
On Wednesday, Pakistan rejected allegations that the crime was linked to any organisation in its territory, The Hindu reported.
“We categorically reject any such insinuations, which are typical of the BJP-RSS ‘Hindutva’ driven Indian regime’s attempts at maligning Pakistan including by externalising their internal issues through pointing of fingers towards Pakistan,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said. “Such malicious attempts will not succeed in misleading the people, either in India or abroad.”