Udaipur: A day after the brutal murder of Hindu tailor Kanhaiya Lal Teli by two Muslim men in Udaipur, his corpse was taken to Surajkund circle, near his shop. Kanhiyalal’s body will be taken to Ashok Nagar cremation ground from here.
A crowd of around 200 men gathered, many shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “desh ke gaddaron ko (those who betray the country)” slogans. Some men moved around planting orange flags on the few cars in the area.
The traditional “Ram naam satya hai” funeral chant was missing for a large part of the procession.
Many parts of the city shut down under the strict curfew Tuesday, with an eerie emptiness enveloping the streets, even as police and RAF personnel were deployed. Curfew orders were imposed in Dhanmandi, Ghantaghar, Hathipol, Ambamata, Surajpol, Bhupalpura and Savina areas of Udaipur district, all of which are Muslim-dominated areas.
Outside the district and sessions court in the city, around 50 uniformed lawyers protested the killing and chanted slogans. “Unless and until the two men are punished and hanged to death, we will not represent and fight cases for any Muslim,” Jajraj Singh Sahu, a lawyer, told ThePrint.
A restaurant owner Hemant Goswami added that he will not serve food to Muslims.
Meanwhile, young men were seen walking around the city, carrying orange flags.
The street on which Kanhaiya Lal’s shop was located has been completely cordoned off. Teli’s friend and helper, Ishwar Gaur, who was also injured in the attack, has been admitted in MB hospital in the neurosurgery ward. His condition is stable, say doctors.
When ThePrint visited the hospital, members of the Teli community present there expressed anger against the ruling Congress party in the state and alleged that while members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been in constant touch with them since the incident, the local MLA, MP and Congress leaders were completely missing in action.
“If a Muslim man had been murdered Congress party would’ve been at the forefront, but here they haven’t even come to talk to us,” claimed Kailash Sahu, advocate and district president of the Teli Samaj in Udaipur.
Kanhaiya Lal was allegedly beheaded by two men for putting up a social media post in support of former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who was suspended for making controversial comments on Prophet Muhammad. Identified by the police as Mohammad Riyaz Attari and Ghaus Mohammed, both accused were arrested late Tuesday night.
Purported visuals of the crime were shared on social media, where the two men were seen claiming responsibility for the crime and threatening Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while brandishing huge knives.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the case and a team from NIA already reached Udiapur from Delhi.
Also read: Who is Nupur Sharma? DUSU ex-president & LSE alum now suspended by BJP for remarks on Prophet
Complaint and counter-complaint
The attack on the tailor was not unforeseen by him.
Kanhaiya Lal had filed a complaint at the city’s Dhanmandi police station on 15 June, claiming threat to his life. “I have come to know that if I open my shop, there will be an attempt on my life,” Kanhaiya Lal is claimed in his complaint. ThePrint has a copy of the complaint.
In the complaint, the deceased had detailed how his neighbour, Nazim Ahmed, and five others had been making rounds of his shop since 10 June and were not letting him open the shop.
On 11 June, Kanhaiya Lal’s neighbour, Nazim, had also filed a complaint against the tailor at the same police station, for his social media post in support of Sharma.
Kanhaiya Lal had then claimed that it was his son who put up the post, and not him, and claimed that Nazim was aware of this.
After Nazim was picked up by police based on Kanhaiya Lal’s complaint, the two reached a settlement, according to police sources.
Nazim accordingly gave a written statement claiming that they had resolved their differences. ThePrint has copies of both the complaint filed by Nazim and his settlement statement.
However, according to police sources and witnesses, Nazim had again threatened Kanhaiya Lal after this. Udairpur superintendent of police Manoj Kumar told ThePrint, however, that “there is no relation” between Nazim and Tuesday’s incident.
According to sources in the police, accused Attari and Ghaus Mohammad were living in a shared room in Udaipur’s Kishanpol area, in a place called Khaja Pir. Attari worked as a welder and the other as caretaker of a small mosque.
Police sources also said that the two accused too had come to the police station 10 days back to file a complaint against Kanhaiya Lal’s post in support of Nupur Sharma.
Hidayat Tullah, a councillor in Udaipur said something like this was waiting to happen in Udaipur because the police wasn’t taking necessary action. “On 9 June I had registered a complaint with the SP and identified 3-4 accounts sharing Nupur Sharma’s statement. I was afraid this could lead to tension and was requesting the police to have these posts deleted, but they didn’t listen to me,” he said.
Following Tuesday’s incident, a police officer claimed, “tension was immediately curtailed in Udaipur as a curfew was imposed instantly, and the two culprits were arrested. The main demand of protesters was compensation as well as jobs for the sons of Kanhaiya Lal, which the government has confirmed, along with a compensation of Rs 32 lakh. This immediately curtailed the riot-like situation”.
“If the family wants us to protest we will. First we have to get done with the cremation peacefully,” said Paras Singhvi, a BJP member.
An earlier version of the report erroneously mentioned — in information attributed to police sources — that one of the murder accused was from Bhim panchayat. The error has been corrected and is regretted.
With inputs from Manisha Mondal.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
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