A man has been beheaded and killed in Rajasthan for a social media post supportive of former Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma in the ongoing controversy over “blasphemy” of Islam’s founder.
The killer reportedly uploaded a video with swords and knives in hand, confessing to the crime and appealing co-religionists to execute more murders like that. The man in the video is seen chanting the slogans of 'Labbaik Ya Rasool-Allah (Here I am at your service, O Messenger of Allah) and “Gustakh-E-Nabi ki ek saza, sar tan se juda’ (there is only one punishment for blasphemy and that is beheading).
Over the last three weeks, several street rallies by Muslims have been taken out across the country where participants called for beheading of Sharma and other “blasphemers”, calling it a punishment sanctioned by Islamic Sharia law for insult of Prophet Mohammed.
An effigy of Sharma was hung from a pole in Karnataka. A cleric in Jammu, while calling Hindus with a religious slur - “cow-urine drinkers” – threatened to behead anyone supporting Sharma. Multiple Instagram users uploaded videos threatening to execute the beheading threats if Sharma was not give death sentence by the state.
As per several reports, the victim is named Kanhaiya Teli. He used to run a tailoring shop named Supreme Tailors in Udaipur’s Dhan Mandi market.
On Tuesday, two men, wearing skull caps, entered his shop posing as customers. While Kanhaiya was taking their measurements, one of the men attacked him. The incident has been captured on video and gone viral on the Internet.
Other visuals of the case show Kanhaiya lying in the street outside his shop in a pool of blood. He died on the spot.
A video has emerged of two men holding swords and knives, taking responsibility of the killing. One of the man in the video resembles the killer in the earlier video at the shop. The police have not released the names of the killers yet.
The victim had put up a social media post
A shopkeeper from the market, without wanting to be named, told Swarajya that Kanhaiya had put up a Facebook page commenting on the ongoing controversy over “blasphemy” by Nupur Sharma. Local Muslims objected to his post, and gave a complaint against him to the local police.
The police filed an FIR against Kanhaiya, but managed to sort out the differences between the two sides through talks. Kanhaiya returned home, but began getting death threats through phone calls and messages.
“Kanhaiya was not given police security despite very blatant threats to him,” the man said.
This correspondent could not get a statement from the police till the time of publishing this report.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot has reacted to the case, without identifying the victim or the killers. He appealed people to not share the video of the gruesome incident.
This is not the first blasphemy-related murder in recent times.
In January, a man in Gujarat named Kishen Boliya was killed by two men named Mohammad Shabbir and Mohammad Imitiaz Pathan for a “blasphemous” social media post.
Like Kanhaiya, Kishen was booked by police for hurting religious sentiments before being killed in vigilante punishment by fanatics.
In October 2019, Uttar Pradesh resident Kamlesh Tiwari, also facing trial for allegedly insulting Mohammed (case filed under 295A besides other IPC sections), was killed by two men from Gujarat at his office.
In 2021, several rallies were taken out in various Indian cities by Muslim groups advocating beheading as mob punishment for a man named Yati Narsinghanand facing trial for allegedly insulting Mohammed. The rallies were taken out in Bareilly, Ajmer and Jammu besides other cities.
In 2010, a college professor in Kerala facing trial for insulting Mohammed (case filed under 295A besides other IPC sections) was brutally attacked by a group of Muslims. TJ Joseph survived the attack that left his wrist severed from his body. Though doctors managed to sew the wrist, he remains handicapped.
Joseph was later acquitted by the court. Last year, his autobiography detailing what he went through was released in English.
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