Hindu tailor killed in India’s Udaipur after prophet’s comments

by Barbara R. Abercrombie
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Police arrest two Muslim men for allegedly beheading the tailor on camera for supporting the ex-BJP official’s comments about the prophet Mohammed.

Two Muslim men have been arrested in the Indian city of Udaipur, in the western state of Rajasthan, for allegedly beheading a Hindu tailor for his online support of a former ruling party official whose comments about the Prophet Muhammad sparked protests worldwide.

Mobile internet services and large gatherings were restricted in Udaipur on Wednesday, a day after the two men killed Hindu man Kanhaiya Lal.

Lal was stabbed multiple times in his tailor shop on Tuesday by the two cleaver-wielding men who filmed the attack. The duo accused Lal of profanity in the video.

The two men later claimed responsibility for the murder in another video and threatened to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

TV reports broadcast a video of Lal lying on the ground with his throat slit. Police said both suspects were arrested within hours of the incident.

“Both accused in the murder have been arrested, and we will ensure strict punishment and swift justice,” Rajasthan’s chief minister Ashok Gehlot said on Twitter.

Gehlot appealed to people to keep calm and not share the video, saying it would “serve the attackers’ motive to create discord in society”.

Police stand guard as people gather on the road after Lal’s murder in Udaipur [ANI/Handout via Reuters]

Asaduddin Owaisi, a member of parliament, condemned the “terrible” murder.

Udaipur

“You can’t take the law into your own hands. It’s a terrible thing to do. It’s inhumane,” he told Al Jazeera.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, an Islamic religious organization, said the incident in Udaipur is “barbaric, uncivilized, and there is no room for justification of violence in Islam”.

“We strongly condemn it. No citizen should take the law into their own hands. Let the law prevail,” the organization wrote on Twitter.

Authorities rushed additional police to Udaipur on Tuesday to counter any religious unrest.

India’s interior ministry has sent a team from its counter-terrorist organization to Rajasthan to investigate whether the killing is linked to terrorist groups. So far, the state police have not charged the two arrested men with terrorism.

In 2017, a Hindu man in Rajasthan brutally killed a Muslim worker in a religious attack and shared a video of the victim being hacked to death and then set on fire.

According to local media, Lal had shared a post on social media ten days ago in which he supported Nupur Sharma, the suspended spokeswoman for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who made controversial remarks about the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha, on a TV show in May.

Another BJP official, Naveen Kumar Jindal, supported Sharma’s statements and made more anti-Islam comments in his tweets, causing a furor in India and many Muslim countries.

The BJP, in harm reduction mode, suspended Sharma, expelled Jindal, and issued a rare statement saying it “respects all religions”.

The controversy sparked nationwide protests in India that turned violent in some places. At least two people were killed, and many Muslim homes were bulldozed.

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